Town mourns loss of tireless campaigner

TRIBUTES were paid today to a campaigner who devoted much of his life to improving public transport and was credited with saving Felixstowe's passenger train service from being axed.

Richard Cornwell

TRIBUTES were paid today to a campaigner who devoted much of his life to improving public transport and was credited with saving Felixstowe's passenger train service from being axed.

Former teacher Charles Taylor, 91, worked at the forefront of the battle to keep the resort's rail line for more than 35 years.

He served as chairman of Felixstowe East Suffolk Travellers' Association (ESTA), and after retiring from the role continued until his death last week as its life president to ensure the group's work kept on the right track.

For the past few years he had suffered a painful leg ulcer which kept him virtually housebound.

Chairman of ESTA John Woollan said Mr Taylor was “a modest man who was a born leader and visionary” and worked so hard to keep the rail line when it was under threat.

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“For 36 years he worked hard to promote the use of public transport,” he said.

“In doing so he built up a thriving ESTA membership which stands today in the region of 450.”

Mr Taylor, of Gainsborough Road, leaves a wife Joan and three children. He was a grandfather and great-grandfather.

He met his wife during the war and they were married in Hook, Surrey, in September 1943 after she wrote to him as a pen-friend while he was in the navy.

Mr Taylor, originally from Wimbledon, and his wife lived in Surrey for some years before moving to Felixstowe in 1969. He taught at Orwell High School for many years.

He was a founder member of ESTA in 1972 when the group was launched to fight off a threat by British Rail to withdraw passenger services on the 12-mile link between Felixstowe and Ipswich.

As secretary, he bombarded rail chiefs with letters and arranged many meetings until the threat was removed.

He continued in the post for 20 years and was then chairman for five. ESTA also expanded to include bus and ferry travel.

A thanksgiving service for his life was due to be held today at St Andrew's Church.

Pay your tributes to Charles Taylor by writing to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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