Volunteers across Croydon are mourning John Taylor, one of the founders of two homelessness organisations in the borough, who has died, aged 75.
In 1976, Taylor helped to found Croydon Nightwatch, which offers nightly food and help to the homeless. He served as its second chairman, from 1978 to 1992, and built up the organisation to own three premises where former homeless people could live before moving on to more permanent accommodation, and one for long-term living.
Nightwatch now concentrates on street-level work and is the largest volunteer organisation in the borough.
Feeling something should be done about the number of young homeless people in Croydon, Taylor then worked with others to set up Croydon Association for Young Single Homeless (CAYSH). He served as vice-chair from 1980 to 1987, taking responsibility for preparing funding applications, developing the organisation, its hostel and move-on schemes, appointing and overseeing the staff.
CAYSH is now a leading provider in the field of youth homelessness.
Taylor lived in Sanderstead with his wife Carole. The Taylors, together with their two two children, Helen and Neil, and four grandchildren, would have celebrated the couple’s Golden Anniversary later this month.
John Taylor had a career as a local government officer, after which he was active as a volunteer adviser for the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
Jad Adams, who followed Taylor as chair of Nightwatch, said: “Few people have made as much difference to the lives of people who need help most than John. The creation of Nightwatch and CAYSH were great and enduring achievements for his determinedly inspirational approach. Thousands can be grateful for the practical assistance and the chance to make something of themselves that these organisations provided.
“I learned a great deal from him, not by instruction – I don’t remember a word of direct instruction, he taught by his example of diligence and fortitude. He was a great man, and all the greater for being unassuming and not seeking the rewards of public life, though he achieved more than many who do seek fame and titles.”
John Taylor’s funeral will be at Croydon Crematorium on Wednesday March 21 at 3.45pm. It will be humanist in style; the family request no black clothing and no flowers.
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