Death of Torridge businessman

TORRIDGE holiday park proprietor and caravan distributor John Taylor has died at the age of 78. A quiet funeral service took place on Friday, attended by family and friends. Born in Appledore, John was trained as a mechanic and did his National Service i

TORRIDGE holiday park proprietor and caravan distributor John Taylor has died at the age of 78.

A quiet funeral service took place on Friday, attended by family and friends.

Born in Appledore, John was trained as a mechanic and did his National Service in Germany and Jamaica with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

On demob he returned to Elliott's Garage in Bideford as a mechanic, but involvement in the family campsite business and sheep farming soon became his full time role.


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He ran the Taylor's Western campsite in Westward Ho! - now Beachside Holiday Park. Then, with other family members, he changed direction by buying static caravans for letting and developed the Surf Bay Holiday Park.

John and son Michael later started supplying caravans to other park owners and developed the Surf Bay Leisure dealership, which grew rapidly and moved to Winkleigh, where the company head offices are still based.

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The business has become one of the largest caravan holiday home distributors in the UK.

John was an active member of Bideford Lions' Club for many years, especially during the period of raising funds for Northam Lodge residential home for the disabled.

He had been fighting cancer for eight years, but never accepted the word "retired" and despite his illness continued to work and contribute to the company until a few months ago.

John leaves his wife Sylvia, children Lyn, Julie and Michael, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

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