Tribute to long-time Brighton former deputy mayor and councillor
FORMER deputy mayor and long-time and respected councillor on Brighton Council passed away last month. His son-in-law Leigh Gray, who is also on Brighton Council, provided the following which was part of his eulogy at Geoff’s funeral.
By LEIGH GRAY
GEOFF Taylor has a history of community involvement along with his long involvement with Brighton Council. Geoff was founding District Commissioner of the Brighton Pony Club, was part of the committee that provided housing for our elderly in Brighton, all funded by the Brighton Rotary Club, a long-time member of the Brighton Bowls Club and a founding member of the Brighton Lions Club.
Geoff was a regular at the Brighton Show and opened it on several occasions. He was a big fan of the chicken shows.
Geoff Taylor was first elected to the Brighton Council in 1972 and served, over three different terms, a total of 31 years and four months as a Councillor up until his death. This equates to well over half of his adult life in service to Brighton Council and community. Geoff also served as deputy warden and then deputy mayor for a combined total of 12 and half years.
He was well respected and will be greatly missed by our community, Council staff and councillors and in fact, all who had anything to do with this great servant.
One staff member sent a beautiful message to us upon hearing of Geoff’s passing and I am going to share it:
“Please accept my condolences on the passing of Geoff. I personally will miss him so much. It is funny but I never quite agreed with all his politics and he was brought up in a different generation but he taught me a valuable life lesson and that is it is fine to have an opposing view when what really counts is decency and kindness. Geoff was full of these qualities with an amazing sense of humour thrown into the mix. I will always treasure what I learnt from him. I looked up to him so much.”
His stories after meetings, while we shared a light meal and a few beverages, about his experiences and life were always met with laughter by those who were there. His favorite and most told story was how he left the Hutchins boarding school one day after deciding that school was not for him. He grabbed his bike and rode home all the way to Brighton. Upon arriving back at the family farm he was promptly given a spanking by his father and then turned around and made to ride back to town.
Our son may have inherited his bike riding skills from his grandfather.
Our meetings will never be the same, Geoff was old school, he said what he meant and meant what he said, he never backed down from an argument and interjections during debates were expected, especially when he was passionate about his point of view. His humour and ability to lighten the mood when things were getting a little tense with a witty remark were ever present. He represented his community to the best of his ability at all times.
He remarked recently, after he had been ill for some time and was spending more time inside, that he was reading agendas probably for the first time in his local government career. This may sound a little strange but no one could say they ever noticed. He was good at his job and was exceptionally quick to pick up on the items being discussed. He was an excellent Councillor and thought on his feet, never not contributing to a debate and always with a point of view and valid argument whether it be for or against. I mentioned this to a few Councillors and staff and said maybe I should not tell this story but they disagreed. It shows that Geoff was a great representative who was intelligent and had more than enough ability to ensure that the right decision was made.
Geoff was so approachable. Anyone could call him on a matter and if he felt that they had an issue and he agreed with it, then he would fight to try and ensure they got what they wanted. It could have been anything from a pothole to sealing a whole road. In the reverse if he didn’t agree with someone he would simply tell them so. That was his way. He was always very honest in giving his opinion.
He will be missed and whoever chooses to follow this path will have very big boots to fill as the bar has been set very high.
On a personal note we will miss him. He was a great father-in-law, a great dad and great grandpa.
Brighton Council staff and councillors and indeed the whole community will miss Geoff Taylor. Brighton Community News passes on its sincerest condolences to the whole family on Geoff’s passing.