A spin bowler and influential Norfolk cricketer, Peter Taylor, who was made MBE, has died peacefully at home aged 86.

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When he moved to Norwich after Her Majesty’s Stationery Office headquarters had been relocated from London in 1968, he found that the expanding suburb of Hellesdon lacked a cricket team.

He was instrumental in the club’s formation, when it played at Hellesdon High School. After merging with Coltishall in late 1989, he retired from active club involvement after more than 20 years.

Born in Spalding, on February 13, 1926, Peter Anthony Taylor won a place to grammar school but his parents could not afford the fees. His great love was always cricket and he started his own junior team aged 14.

During the second world war, he joined the Seaforth Highlanders in 1944 and was posted to the 13th Parachute Regiment and finally the 5th Parachute Regiment. He fought in south-east Asia, but plans for an airborne invasion were over-taken when the first atom bomb was dropped at Hiroshima. After Japan’s surrender, he was among the first to relieve the Changi POW camp, Singapore.

He then served in Palestine before the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. He returned to Spalding and married his childhood sweetheart, Natalie, having reluctantly turned down an offer to join Gloucestershire County Cricket Club.

A summer weekly £2 wage was not enough to support a wife and family, so he joined the Post Office in London. It had offered the chance to play high-standard cricket and time off work to play matches.

In 1965, he joined HMSO, becoming an executive officer and accommo-dation manager, responsible for about 3,000 staff in Norwich.

He was made MBE in the 1983 New Year’s Honours and retired in 1986. In that year, he was presented to the Queen during his visit to mark the bicentennial celebrations.

Regarded as a craftsman spin bowler, he had a career average in Norfolk cricket of 11, and was also an astute captain. As a junior club, often playing against more senior and prestigious Norfolk clubs on better wickets, he had twin objectives of winning games, but only just, thus securing the fixture for the following season. Apart from watching cricket at every opportunity, he took up bowls and also golf.

He leaves two sons, Chris and Brian, and two grandsons.

A funeral will be held at St Faith’s Crematorium on Wednesday at 11.45am.Michael Pollitt

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