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Tributes paid to minister killed in van crash outside Canterbury West train station


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A well-known clergyman killed in a tragic crash outside a station has been described as a "true gentleman" who "gave so much to so many".

Reverend Iain Taylor, 79, died after being hit by a van outside Canterbury West.

Iain and Doris Taylor, celebrating their golden wedding anniversary last year. Picture: Liz Sharp
Iain and Doris Taylor, celebrating their golden wedding anniversary last year. Picture: Liz Sharp

Rev Taylor, who acted as his wife's carer, had been on his way to catch a train to Battle for respite at a four-day Christian retreat when the tragedy happened.

A driver has since been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

Rev Taylor's devastated family and colleagues remember him as "an amazing person" who was "loved by many for his kindness, compassion and wisdom".

He was well-known in the community, having lived in Canterbury all his life and having served for years a minister of St Peter's Church.

He also spent more than 50 years working as a gentleman's outfitter at Deakin & Sons clothing stores, in both Canterbury and Ramsgate.

Rev Taylor tragically suffered fatal injuries when he was hit by a white Vauxhall Vivaro van while walking to the station in Station Road West on September 28.

Iain Taylor with wife Doris at his ordainment. Picture: Liz Sharp
Iain Taylor with wife Doris at his ordainment. Picture: Liz Sharp

His niece, Liz Sharp, says his family are "devastated at his untimely loss".

"He truly was an amazing person, much loved by all who knew him," she said.

Rev Taylor had been "very much looking forward to celebrating his 80th birthday", which would have taken place in December.

His sudden death has been particularly devastating for his wife of 51 years, Doris, who has dementia.

Rev Taylor had been her sole carer at their home in The Causeway.

"The loss of Iain has therefore had a profound effect on her and her life," said Mrs Sharp. "Currently she is being cared for by family members."

Mrs Sharp describes her uncle and aunt as having been "a devoted couple".

While never having children of their own, over the years they took in several university students as lodgers, who came to look upon them as "surrogate parents".

Mrs Sharp recalled: "Often Iain would become a confidante and they very much enjoyed Doris’s cooking and care. They have remained in touch to this day."

"He also valued and maintained contact with many [Deakin & Sons] customers and school friends, including being an active member of the St Dunstan’s Old Scholars Association."

Emergency services at the scene of the collision outside Canterbury West. Picture: Susan Demir
Emergency services at the scene of the collision outside Canterbury West. Picture: Susan Demir

A life-long churchgoer, Iain was ordained as a vicar in 2003, which his niece describes as "the fulfilment of his life's ambition".

He played an active role as a minister of St Peter's Church until his death.

"His ministry has touched so many and his loss has been keenly felt," said Mrs Sharp.

Rev Jo Richards, Rector of the Benefice of St Dunstan, St Mildred and St Peter, Canterbury, paid tribute to Fr Taylor as "a true gentleman".

She said: "Fr Iain gave so much to so many in his own quiet and gentle way; he was loved by many for his kindness, compassion and wisdom; and was fully committed to the life and ministry of St Peter's Church.

"A committed Christian and true witness to the living Gospel.

"Iain will be missed by many, not only by our congregations, and those who loved and knew him, but by the people of Canterbury.

"We have lost a true gentleman."

An inquest into Fr Taylor's death opened on Monday, with a full hearing due to take place on March 7.

Police have confirmed the driver of the van was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, on October 1, and released on police bail while enquiries continue.

Witnesses should call the SCIU appeal line on 01622 798 538 or email sciu.td@kent.pnn.police.uk quoting KH/RF/105/21.

Read more: All the latest news from Canterbury

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