Rye Loses a Great Champion

A Tribute to Keith Taylor

By Jim Hollands

As you go through life you meet just a few ‘very special’ people who are more interested in what they put into life rather than what they can get out. Dr. Keith Tayor was such a person.

Keith passed away quite suddenly at his Lion Street home at the beginning of February and will leave a gap in this community that will be impossible to fill.

He was in the same calibre as the two greatest men I was privileged to know, Cannon John Williams former Vicar of Rye and Father Richard, Catholic Priest at Rye for many years who went on to become head of the Fransican Friary in England. Each one was a stranger when he came to Rye. All three were soon accepted and won the hearts and support of Ryers, and all of them have left lasting memories, good examples and tangible monuments in the town they came to love.

Keith invited me to join the Campaign for a Democratic Rye Group after reading my views on bringing real decision making back to the town in “Rye’s Own”.

He chaired a Public Meeting at Rye that got almost one hundred percent support from the three hundred present to demand that Rother District Council be split into three Area Committees, and give Rye and its adjacent villages power over their own finance and local planning. Alas the Town Council did not take on Rother as the meeting mandated it should, instead continuing on it’s path to “Quality Town Status”, a meaningless title that resulted in a framed certificate to hang in the Town Hall. Keith was disappointed and vowed to work towards a majority for the Campaign Group on the Town Council. The people of Rye gave him this last May and a proposal for Rye Town Council to support Area Committees will shortly be put before Rye Councillors.

Keith was also a champion of rail users in Rye and was closely involved with the Marshlink rail action group.

The new library in the High Street came about as a result of pressure put on by Friends of Rye Library, another group in which Keith Taylor was actively involved.

On a National level Dr. Keith Taylor was an avid believer in the NHS. His own sphere was diabetes, of which he was a sufferer from a very early age. He spent his working years and beyond researching the causes of this debilitating disease. More than forty years ago he gave the Banting Memorial Lecture “Physiology of insulin in man”. His research continued long after his retirement and until very recently he was still attending the Diabetic Outpatients Clinic at Kings College where he was a consultant.

His lifetime’s work on diabetes was completed and ready for the printers shortly before his untimely death.

Keith Taylor lived in Rye for only a couple of handfuls of years but he made a lasting impression on all who knew him. He achieved more in that time than many of us who were born here.

Dr. Keith Taylor, as we remember him best. On the Town Hall steps
Dr. Keith Taylor, as we remember him best. On the Town Hall steps

Dr. Keith Taylor will be remembered as a ‘True Ryer’. He goes down in my book as a great man. He had the esteem of Cannon John Williams, the reconciliation powers of Father Richard and the humility and dedication of Alfred Horner. Keith, like them, has been part of what’s best in Rye. His name, like theirs, will echo down the years when good men of this town meet and talk

I offer my sincere condolences to Margaret, who supported Keith in all he did and to Anne, Andrew and Nicholas.

Rye’s Own March 2012

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