THE Taunton sporting community is mourning the sad loss of Don Taylor, who passed away recently at the age of 78, writes Richard Walsh.

He was well known in footballing circles, having played for both British Rail and for Taunton Civil Service, in addition to which he played skittles locally for many years.

Don was born in Swindon in May 1942 and moved to Taunton with his parents when he was four years old.

He went to Priory School in Taunton, which he left to undertake a carpentry apprenticeship with C.S Williams.

He remained with the same company for 40 years, going on to become a site foreman and then site agent.

Don met his wife Beryl in 1960, the pair were married in 1964 and went on to have two children - Daniel, who was born in 1970, and Anna, born in 1974.

Don was a keen footballer and began by playing for Rowbarton Boys Club as a youngster before signing for senior side British Rail, where he enjoyed several years playing at left-back for the team.

He then moved on to play for Taunton Civil Service, who included Somerset cricketer Roy Virgin in their team.

Don entered fully into the life of the club and would regularly wash the team shirts.

He was a Bristol City fan for over half a century and at every opportunity would go along to Ashton Gate to watch the team play, enjoying all the highs and lows, which included trips to Wembley.

Somerset County Gazette:

LINE-UP: This Taunton Civil Service team photo shows Don Taylor fourth from left in the front row with his hand on the ball, while Somerset batsman Roy Virgin is second from left in the back row. Do you recognise any other faces?

He also enjoyed his skittles and for many years played all year round in the Taunton Brewers Summer and Winter Leagues, and was part of the Near Misses team that won the Division 4 championship in 2005/06.

Don and his wife enjoyed travelling, and one favourite trip was to the USA to Memphis and Nashville, where he enjoyed the music and a visit to the Grand Ole Opry.

He always had a fascination with motorcycles, and upon his retirement he went to America and rode the famous Route 66.

Former Somerset County Cricket Club chairman and president Richard Parsons, a close personal friend of Don’s, said: “Don was well respected all his working life for his industry and wise counsel.

“He would never speak badly of anyone. His most endearing qualities were his kindness and generosity in word and deed.”

He added: “Don was a loving loyal husband, father and grandfather, and a good friend to many - he will be very sadly missed.”

Somerset County Gazette: Taunton footballer Don Taylor