Kenilworth says goodbye to the creator of a legacy

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A ‘great Kenilworth character’ who created a legacy in the town has passed away at the age of 96.

Renowned chemist, grandfather and town resident Dudley Taylor died peacefully on the August 28.

But he will not be forgotten as friends and family pay tributes to the great man ahead of a thanksgiving service to celebrate his life on Monday.

The skilled chemist, who set up the Dudley Taylor chain across the UK, was described as a “great friend to many” who had established himself as a pillar of the community since he moved to the town.

Dudley’s wife Dawn died in 2005 but he is very sadly missed by his seven children and 26 grandchildren.

He once commented: “I hope people won’t be miserable at my funeral” - and it is hoped that Monday’s service will allow all those who knew him to get together and celebrate all he did for his family and friends throughout his extraordinary life.

Mr Taylor established Dudley Taylor Pharmacies Ltd in Kenilworth back in 1947.

From the early 1950s, Dudley was the main chemist in Kenilworth, located initially in a war damaged shop that stood on the site of the present day Holiday Inn and eventually owning four pharmacies in the town.

Over 60 years on, the company is now run by his sons Michael, Christopher and Philip and has 56 pharmacies across the Midlands, Wales, Yorkshire, the south west and in London.

Getting involved in all aspects of the town, Dudley was a popular Rotarian and a very competitive bridge player at the Kenilworth Bridge Club.

He built a large family home in Fieldgate Lane and helped form a partnership which redeveloped the old school and surrounding houses at Knowle Hill. The son of a builder, Dudley Taylor was born and brought up in the small fishing village of Port Isaac on the North Cornwall coast.

At 16 he became a pharmacy apprentice in Truro and completed his training after serving in the RAF. Within a few years had started his own business.

Although his working life was spent in Kenilworth, Dudley was always looking for business opportunities and it was not long before he opened businesses all over the UK.

By 2001, along with partners and two of his sons - also pharmacists - a group of 70 branches was established.

In Kenilworth, Dudley left his mark on a number of properties, most notable were the Convalescent Home and the Stone House in the old High Street.

He was a regular supporter of Coventry at Highfield Road and a keen golfer, being a member at Kenilworth Golf Club for 56 years.

A competitive nature meant that he was always keen to win on the course to avoid having to pay for the tea and toast after the game. And his ability to recall every detail of a game or a hand at bridge played years before was described as uncanny.

Business associates will remember Dudley for his astuteness and love of a bargain. It was immaterial whether the result was a shilling or a hundred pounds, as long as it was a good deal.

Friends and customers will recall his generosity, his love of a good story, his mischievous humour and his genuine interest in their well-being. He was described as having a rare talent for being able to relate to anyone he met.

A celebration of his life will be held at midday on Monday September 9 at St Nicholas’ church.