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Tributes to a champion of Diss

PUBLISHED: 18:38 23 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:28 12 July 2010

Brian Clark-Taylor.

Brian Clark-Taylor.

Friends and colleagues have paid tribute to former mayor of Diss, Brian Clark-Taylor who has lost his battle with cancer.

The union flag, which flies every day at South Norfolk Council's offices in Long Stratton, has been lowered to half-mast as a mark of respect.

Friends and colleagues have paid tribute to former mayor of Diss, Brian Clark-Taylor who has lost his battle with cancer.

The union flag, which flies every day at South Norfolk Council's offices in Long Stratton, has been lowered to half-mast as a mark of respect.

A town and district councillor Mr Clark-Taylor had been in the Mulbarton Ward at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for the last four weeks, and died on Friday evening. He was 59.

Council leader John Fuller said: “Brian was a champion for Diss. He served with distinction on the town council and I remember that during his service as Diss Town Mayor, not a week passed without a photograph of him in the local media dressed in his flowing Mayoral robes and tricorne hat commenting on the issues that really mattered to local people and to the town. His vision for Diss will live-on.”

Mr Clark-Taylor leaves no family, having lost his twin sister in 2005 after nursing her through cancer. The mayoral robes held special significance for him, as they were donated to the town council by his sister shortly before her death.

Despite this setback to his personal life, he remained dedicated to what he considered to be his 'job', which was to serve the people of Diss which at times he did vigorously.

Mr Fuller added: “For someone without any remaining family, the constant procession of visitors to his hospital bedside was a tribute to the mark he made on local life. We will miss him, his quirky laugh and the way in which he conducted himself with dignity and panache in his council work.

“When the funeral date is set, I hope we can all give him the send-off he deserves. It will be our opportunity to say thank you for his life of service to the people he represented.”

The authority's chief executive, Geoff Rivers said: “Brian was an excellent member of South Norfolk Council. He will be missed enormously by his colleagues and by staff.”

Diss councillor Tony Palmer was among his closest friends. “The loss of Brian has left a void in our lives, as town and district councillor. Brian always gave of his best to help people and for the good of Diss. I am proud to have been his friend and colleague.

“I shall miss Brian and our glass of wine and discussion of the day's events, particularly after a long evening meeting,” he said.

Other councillors spoke of his dedication and service to the community, his encouragement and helpfulness, and loyal and caring nature.

Present Diss town mayor Simon Olander said: 'I would just like to say that I will always be grateful for Brian's support and encouragement He was always there to advise and help whenever possible. He found great fulfilment in public office and was dedicated to serving his community. He will be much missed.'

Glyn Walden, town councillor and past Town Mayor said: “I first met Brian nine years ago during my first Mayoral year, when he was a regular visitor to our Town Council meetings. Instead of complaining about issues, he became involved in a very supportive way. He was a very sociable person, loyal and caring, and always interested in the health and wellbeing of his friends and colleagues.”

“My one abiding memory of Brian though will be last year on Armistice Day when the town stood in silence in the Market Place. An impatient and angry motorist, refusing to stop, revved his car and drove straight at Brian who was standing in the middle of the road. Brian stood his ground forcing the driver to stop, switch off his engine, and wait until the two minutes were up. He will be missed for a long time.”

Graham Minshull Town Councillor said 'I feel that Diss has lost a great ambassador. Brian was always ready to talk to the local people of Diss and act upon what he heard which made him very popular in the town which he cared passionately about. His work for the town and its future will be greatly missed.'

Before moving to Diss, Mr Clark-Taylor was for many years a councillor in Richmond, Surrey.

A short service and cremation will be held at 11.15am on Friday, May 2 at the West Suffolk Crematorium, Risby, Bury St Edmunds, for close friends only. This will be followed at 3pm by memorial service at Diss Methodist Church which is open to all. .

No flowers, by request, but donations are invited to Rosedale Funeral Directors, Diss, for the Big C Appeal and East Anglian Air Ambulance.

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