John Taylor gave so much to Exmouth - he'll be missed by so many

PUBLISHED: 06:30 06 November 2015

exe john taylor

exe john taylor


Exmouth is mourning the death of John Taylor, a former town councillor, leading member of the Exmouth Twinning Association, Rotarian and Round Tabler, as well as a great supporter of Exmouth Beach Rescue Club. Here, friend and fellow councillor Eileen Wragg pays tribute.

John Taylor was born in 1932 in Salisbury Infirmary and was not expected to live, so he was christened Reginald John in hospital.

Fortunately, he survived and went on to live a full life, which he shared selflessly, generously giving of his time and talents to others, not least his family, including his three sons, Nick, Tim and Toby. Sadly, Nick was tragically killed at the age of six in Wiltshire.

As a child, John passed the 11-plus and became a pupil at Devizes Grammar School. He had an inquisitive mind and liked experimenting with new ideas. One result was a long black scar on the kitchen table after he had decided to make his own fireworks!

On leaving school at 16, John took on an apprenticeship to become an electrical engineer, but his apprenticeship was interrupted by the call for him to do his National Service.

At 19, he was flown to Singapore to fight in the Malaysian Emergency, where he was a wireless mechanic with 194 Squadron, the first helicopter squadron in the RAF. The use of helicopter was a vital component in winning the war against guerrilla fighters.

John’s National Service was longer than most, and when he returned in 1953, he completed his apprenticeship as an electrical engineer and then worked for British Gas until his retirement.

John met Brenda Pipkin in Marlborough, following his return from Malaysia, and they married in 1957.

The family moved to Devon when John took a new job with British Gas, and, by 1969, were living in Brixington, Exmouth.

All the family became involved in community activities, with the boys joining the scouts.

John became very involved with the work of the Round Table, giving his time as a volunteer at Orcombleigh, the holiday home for multiple sclerosis sufferers and their families at Douglas Avenue. He also organised the hugely successful annual Holly Ball for Rotary.

John was also instrumental in setting up the twinning association and its connections with Dinan, France, in 1972, and Langerwehe in 1985. His painstaking, but enthusiastic efforts in doing this and arranging twinning visits earned the admiration of many supporters, which resulted in lasting and fulfilling friendships on both sides of The Channel.

John joined Exmouth Beach Rescue, becoming chairman and, latterly, he was president. Upon retirement, he ran for the new Exmouth Town Council and was duly elected, where his focus was on planning, using all of his professional skills and conscientiousness to improve Exmouth, the place he loved so much.

When Brenda became chairman of Devon County Council, John was a huge support to her in carrying out her duties, always so dependable and good humoured, and a genial host.

Sadly, his health had not been good in recent years, but he was lovingly cared for by the staff at the Cranford Home, and met his new grandson, Rowan, just a few weeks ago.

He is survived by Brenda, his sons and daughters-in-law, Tim and Sarah, their sons Hamish and Harry, who all live in Australia, and Toby and Rachel and their sons, Otto and Rowan.

John will be much missed by all his family and many friends, and by others in the town to which he gave so much.

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