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Community remembers 'compassionate and kind' Sudbury stalwart Richard Taylor

A lifelong stalwart of the Sudbury community has been remembered for his warm and generous demeanour and his fortitude against hardships in his life, following his death at the age of 63.

Richard Taylor, of William Wood House in School Street, died peacefully at West Suffolk Hospital on Sunday, January 3.

Often seen around town on his tricycle, he was a familiar face to many community groups, including a 20-year association with the Sudbury Salvation Army.

Richard Taylor. (43911588)
Richard Taylor. (43911588)

He began his life in dramatic circumstances, being airlifted from Ipswich to a London hospital with parents Joyce and Robert, when he was just two days old, for an emergency operation – as reported on the front page of the Free Press in August 1957.

Growing up in Ballingdon, he moved to Belchamp Otten and developed a strong work ethic that helped him to deal with his disabilities, by assisting at Coles Farm and the village church.

Upon the family’s move to Abbey Road in Sudbury, he enjoyed an active role in the town, with memberships in local swimming, snooker, darts and Gateway clubs, as well as active participation in events such as the mini-Olympics and the River Stour raft races.

Richard Taylor. (43911583)
Richard Taylor. (43911583)

His brother, Michael, told the Free Press: “Routine was very much part of the way he handled his Down’s syndrome. He loved working and had a strong work ethic, even though his communication skills were not great.

“Wherever he went, he made himself useful and was always keen on helping. He was a very generous person.

“If he met somebody, he would always be the first to stick out his hand and say hello. You would find he was immensely friendly.

Richard Taylor. (43911585)
Richard Taylor. (43911585)

“He was a genuinely very nice person. He always had a smile and everybody was happy to see him.”

In 1997, Mr Taylor moved to live independently in New Street and, soon after, began his long-time membership at the Salvation Army centre in Station Road, which continued after he relocated to William Wood House in 2011.

Lieutenant Rachel Hepburn, corps officer for the Sudbury Salvation Army, said: “He was just wonderful, really. He was incredibly compassionate, caring and kind.

“He was part of the welcome team and would help out at the end of each service. He was well loved and will be greatly missed.”

Tamsin Wells, operations manager for Leading Lives, added: “Leading Lives had the pleasure of supporting Richard for over 16 years and I personally knew him for many years.

“Richard was very sociable and had many friends in and around Sudbury. It often took us some time to complete his shopping in town, as he would always be stopping and chatting with someone he knew.

“He had a very caring nature and was always keen to help people out. Richard will be sadly missed by many from Sudbury Hub and Leading Lives.”

Donations in his memory for The Salvation Army, The Bridge Project and Great Ormond Street Hospital can be made here.

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