Sid Taylor: Norfolk nurseryman, author and leading district councillor met the Queen Mother

Sid Taylor, holding a copy of his book Harleston Cameo. Picture dated (library stamp, used) Feb 28,

Sid Taylor, holding a copy of his book Harleston Cameo. Picture dated (library stamp, used) Feb 28, 1992. - Credit: Archant

A south Norfolk nurseryman, author and leading district councillor, Sid Taylor, has died suddenly at home aged 81.

When he was 61, he self-published a best-selling book, Harleston Cameo – Reminiscences of a Norfolk Man, containing interviews with many prominent local people. The life-long Canaries fan also featured footballer Duncan Forbes, cabinet minister John MacGregor and Sir Arthur South in the 120-page book.

A highlight of his involvement in local government occurred in July 1982 when the first royal visit for 900 years was made to the town. He was chairman of the Harleston Recreation Grounds Sports and Social Club when the Queen Mother, who arrived by helicopter from Windsor, was given a tour of the new £102,000 Memorial Leisure Centre.

A true Norfolk man, Sidney Albert Taylor, was born in Harleston.

He joined a long-established nursery, Whartons of Harleston at the age of 13. It became one of the country's leading rose growers and when he retired as manager at 65, he continued to advise for another five years – completing 57 years with the same employer.

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He served on the parish and town council and was chairman before being elected to South Norfolk Council in 1982 – serving for 17 years. Chairman of the council from 1995-1996, he was on many committees including health, housing, amenities, personnel and leisure centre management.

He represented the council on Norfolk Youth and Community Service and Harleston's youth management committee, as well as the Local Government Association's rural commission. He was made an honorary alderman in 2011 in recognition of his years of service to the community.

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Proud of his native town, he also recorded an audio walk, and planted an estimated 3,000 trees in and around Harleston. He had started planting trees at the age of 18 and in his 80th year planted four score more to leave a living legacy.

He was inspired to write his book about his life by a chance request to write a 500-word article on his home town. It contained anecdotes about the changes in the Waveney Valley during his lifetime.

A supporter of the town's cricket club, he was a Canaries fan to the end and had a season ticket for years. Although he was unable to attend the last home match at Carrow Road when City secured another season in the top flight with a 4-0 victory, he was delighted that they managed to avoid relegation.

Married for 59 years, he leaves a widow, Margaret, three children, James, Ruth and John, six grandchildren and three great grand-children.

A celebration of his life will be held at St John's Church, Harleston, on Friday, May 31 at 1pm.

Michael Pollitt

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