Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Pete Taylor

Continuing a week of bleak news, we are saddened to forward the announcement of the death of Pete Taylor.

Here he is, presenting a petition against building houses on Railway Path parkland to one of the local councillors, Faruk Choudhury, who is wearing a genuine Bristol Traffic approved high-viz top to walk down a footpath safely.



Josh Hart says
I'm afraid I have some very sad news for those of you who knew Pete Taylor, the Easton activist responsible for the 'thank you for not driving' signs around Bristol. Pete died yesterday at home- it appears that his bad and worsening asthma finally got the better of him. I didn't know him that well- I moved in down the street 6 months ago, but I do know that he had a really good heart and I always looked forward to seeing him chopping wood outside for his stove. He could be brash, condemning our car culture and lashing out against pavement parkers, but his activism sprung from love- mostly a love of our planet I think (he was the one behind the 'i love my planet' bike stickers).

Pete would literally spend all day writing letters to MP's and councillors on issues of traffic and quality of life and this persistence paid off with the city council's adoption of the thank you for not driving signs and stickers. He told me proudly the other day that he had successfully got the diesel generators banned from Broadmead after a long campaign. Undoubtedly Bristol is a greener, more livable place because of his quiet, diligent efforts.

On a more practical note, if anyone knows his next of kin or any close friends and family, please contact the Bristol coroner. If anyone knows anything about a funeral or wake, please post it here so people can pay their respects. Really we should all get together and have a big street party in Pete's honour. He was a really good guy.

I went to lay some flowers in front of his house earlier and his whole end of the street was clear of cars- no doubt that would have brought a smile to his face....

Rest in peace old friend.

Josh
Pete Fryer, of CREATE, has this to say
I was very sorry to hear the sad news that Pete Taylor had passed away over the weekend

I worked with Pete Taylor over the last ten years on campaigns to promote responsible motoring such as the 'Switch off' and 'thank you for not driving' campaigns. Pete was very active as a deep green in earlier years until asthma got the better of him. He was responsible for introducing recycling at the Glastonbury Festival and planted many thousands of native trees during the 90's. He was awarded the Lord Mayors Medal for his environmental activism in these fields and that of promoting cycling.

Peter didn't just talk green he lived green. It would be hard to find anyone in Bristol with a smaller carbon footprint (and lower energy bills) than Pete and many of us will miss his generosity of spirit and generosity of produce from his allotment - a real love of his life.

Pete made sure that bureaucrats such as myself kept our promises and kept moving in the right direction even if we couldnt move with quite the urgency or speed Pete felt was necessary to save the planet. He produced many ideas and challenged both officers and councillors on a regular basis.

I will miss him as an activist and as a friend.

Pete Fryer

Peter Robert Fryer
Environment Manager
CREATE
I met Pete in the railway path and greenbank campaigns, where his willingness to get out on the path and corner people to get them to sign petitions and come round to our way of thinking was invaluable. In this time of networking, facebook groups, twitter and the like, there is still no substitute for people who will go out there and argue their cause in the street, who will put in the hours needed to get things done. Pete was such a person, and without him. the city is poorer.

Like Josh says, time for a party.

18 comments:

DonaQixota said...

You will be very much missed in Easton, Pete. That's a lot more trees people are gonna be a-planting ...

Derek Wall said...

I knew Peter very well, at one time I use to rent a room from him, my son Vince has one of his ban cars stickers...he was a real green, all too rare!

I will miss him

David Wilcox said...

I was with Pete, back in the 80's when as part of Stop Hinkley Action Group we dumped a full size replica of nuclear waste canister on the forecourt of Temple Meads station. A couple of fire engines did turn up eventually, but the fire brigade union was up the demo as well... Managed to keep it there for a good hour before the plods moved us on.

He was always an inspiration to various the environmental groups he went to and the flatbed transit van he had back then was very useful.

Donal O'Riordain said...

Thank you to Rowland for contacting me.

I met Pete in 1994 while I was running for the Green Party here in Bandon, Co Cork, Ireland. (I never got elected)

Pete would come over here as a break from campaigning to recharge his batteries.

Pete was one of the best friends I ever had, that meant he tolerated me longer than anyone else nearly ever did, which says more about him then me. I knighted him 'Sir Peter'. I only last spoke of him Monday, and told a story to someone he enjoyed.

Pete taught me more than anyone else could about campaigning.

If Pete saw something was wrong he articulated it and got up and did something about it.

Pete would tell it as it was, whether you liked what he said or not, and yes he could be difficult and a tad intolerant at times. I had no contact from him for over a year and a half, but respected him greatly.

I can say that I knew Pete very well. It is however OK to pass on as we all will.

Pete knew and understood very well how little time we have as humans, and he wasted nothing, no time, no resources. Pete did things with his time and I know he has no regrets in his latter years.

Pete could see clearly how our Plannet was soon not going to able to sustain life. He was angry at what is going on but acted as an example of how to change things.


I am an ideas person, but rarely got through a fraction of what I could think of doing.

One idea I had is to create an eternal forest in memory of people. A tree for every person who died and the tree cannot ever be knocked down, the land owned and a tree planted in memory of each person. I registered a domain name eternalforest.com. If anyone wants to help me kick start this with the passing of Pete, then please contact me I can think of no greater tribute that we could do for him.


Donal O'Riordain, Tir na nOg, Maulmane, Bandon, Co Cork, Ireland 00353238849965

bristle said...

I didn't know him so much as know of him, and he struck me as a jolly committed and decent person.

I found this nice pic of him and Catweazle (RIP) manning a Kebele cafe stall at the end of the M32 during the Solstice Street Party back in 1997.

http://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs035.snc1/4325_96639878626_530933626_2524071_4124023_n.jpg

Luke Rowe said...

i knew Mr Taylor for years, I've passed on this sad information to a couple of people who knew him well.. and who also may have info re: next of kin..

I spent Glastonbury 1990 with Taylor, crushing cans on the green field..

Pete Taylor was an original, never one to walk on all fours..

Last time I saw him he had a guitar in his hand, telling me to take up playing..

Sadly, Earth is a little lighter today..

Chris Hutt said...

I didn't know Pete at all well but met him a few times recently through the campaign to save the Railway Path from encroachment by the Chocolate Factory at Greenbank, which Pete lived very much in the shadow of. I first met him many years earlier when we were both campaigning to save the Railway Path from the tram route proposed by ATA.

He was clearly dedicated to his campaign work and uncompromising in pursuing it. Such commitment is not easily sustained and tends to undermine other vital aspects of one's life, but Pete was one of the growing number who feel that they cannot ignore the environmental crisis confronting us and must do whatever they can, however fruitless and even futile it sometimes feels.

At least he knows, if his soul lives on, that he did his unstinting best, which is as much as any of us can hope to do.

greeengage said...

I walk past Pete's house almost every day, and I always think of the time he invited me round to pick up some stickers for an event I was organising.

We had a nice cup of tea and he showed me round. I was really struck how simple and beautiful his house was, with painted floorboards and a wood-burner sending hot air through the whole house. Pete told me he'd found nearly everything in skips.

Pete was incredibly passionate about his campaigning, and gave me an armful of stickers, signs and leaflets to take away with me.

The blue 'Thank You For Not Driving' signs all around Bristol are a lovely memorial to Pete, and will always remind me of him.

Wendy Butler said...

Knew Pete first in 1971 - in Ilfracombe (his home town). Sad news, but 'the struggle continues'. Best way for us all to celebrate his life & work is to:- plant trees;develop community gardens; get involved in local politics & community action -and stop using cars!
Fond memories & much love,XX
Wendy Butler (Ilfracombe)

Wendy Butler said...

Am sharing the sad news of Pete's death with all his old friends and connections in Ilfracombe. Word of mouth will, hopefully, bring family & friends together to celebrate a life. If any comrades have details of funeral arrangements, please post soonest.
Wendy Butler
rupertswood@talktalk.net

Rowland Dye said...

To Pete Taylor

I first met Pete Taylor through the Kebele Café in Easton in the mid-nineties and we began working together in the Campaign against the Avon Ring Road. I remember his habit of lighting a camp fire by the side of the Railway Path and drawing people in to discuss the campaign by brewing tea! I think

Pete was especially proud of the many trees he had planted along the Railway Path, especially the oaks on the Easton section. Naively I’d imagined they’d been planted “officially”. But Pete showed me his tree-nursery on his allotment and explained how he collected the acorns from local trees. Pete was always delighting in “nature’s bounty” and pointed out it was never necessary to buy seeds. Since then I’ve never bought tomato seeds and even brought back a slice of tomato from the West Bank, hidden in a sandwich. I’ve been growing Palestinian tomato plants in Easton for the last five years now

Around this time he joined the Bristol Cycling Campaign and shared his enthusiasm for cycling and alternative social events. Every year he would tempt us “townies” out along the Railway Path to celebrate the mid-winter solstice with a bonfire at the old Mangotsfield station. He also hatched many innovative ideas in the battle against traffic and it’s pollution. I remember Pete’s back shed being turned into a mini factory for fake road-signs asking motorists to turn off their engines instead of idling. He developed the idea by printing window stickers and I’m proud I designed the first logo of an exhaust pipe in the middle of a no-entry-sign. Pete was very proud these stickers were later adopted officially by the City Council.

Pete was instrumental in organising the first Car-Free-Day events in Bristol. It was amusing he even got approval for celebration mass bike rides at a time the Police were attacking and arresting similar-sized Critical Mass bike rides!

Then came one of his greatest achievements. He spotted a letter sent into an environmental magazine – Car Busters. A bus company in Canada was printing Thank-You-For-Not-Driving messages on the back of their tickets. He went back to the same local printers who had done the Switch Off stickers and ordered the new design. These began to appear all across the town on bus-stops, bike-racks, footpaths, etc. Again, he was proud the idea was adopted by the Council and he energetically organised Lord Mayors, MPs and Councillors to veil signs outside schools and other public buildings throughout Bristol.

His final battle was with the plans for the Chocolate Factory development in Easton blatantly to encroach onto the Railway Path. During the autumn he campaigned on the Path and raised almost a thousand signatures on a petition. This spring, the danger of this disastrous scheme continued, and our last contact was a message on my answerphone asking to reprint the petition for a second round.

He was, literally campaigning to save the Planet to the last!

All the anti-pollution signs, both official and unofficial, around Bristol, and the rows of large oak trees flanking the Railway Path are a fitting legacy to his life. And these will urge the rest of us to do more.

Rowland Dye

Anonymous said...

Hi to all who have left such lovely messages about Peter. I am Geneiveve Taylor and am Peter's niece. As yet there are no funeral arrangements. Unfortuntely Peter died without leaving a will so organising his affairs are a little complicated. His son Mark is his next of kin and he is responsible for sorting out his estate and the funeral arrangements. His email is clairebear7@tiscali.co.uk. At present I think he is planning a simple cremation. Peters ashes will then be passed to my brother, Matthew, who was close to Peter. Between Matt and myself we would like to organise some sort of memorial/celebration, probably involving planting a tree. Any ideas about the nature and location of this memorial would be very gratefully recieved. I can be contacted at genevieve.taylor@blueyonder.co.uk

Thanks again for all you good thoughts - please spread the word where you can.

Genevieve Taylor

Acesabe said...

Sad news indeed - I knew Pete for the best part of 10 years - a committed and exhausting environmental campaigner, preacher, activist and champion. He may not have been popular with everyone who knew/met him and was certainly a controversial and 'old fashioned' character, but he did what he thought needed to be done to try and stem the slide into 'carmageddon' and the pollution of our atmosphere, and would happily rant about it to anyone who would listen (- even to the point of getting council action 'switch off' signs and stickers) -usually whilst smoking a roll-up! He was often known as "Switch Off Pete" - perhaps not always affectionately, but he wasn't complacent to sit back and do nothing, a lesson to us all I think.
I shall fondly remember sitting round his stove whilst he'd tell me stories of his adventures (as well as mis-adventures!) and what he thought should be done. I asked him why he didn't just 'retire' to his place in northern Spain and enjoy life without the trouble and pollution of Bristol, his reply that was he just couldn't leave his 'work' here behind - he felt he had to stay and continue 'the fight'! Lets hope the spirit of his work and environmental ethics live on!
Rest well Pete.

Genevieve said...

To all of Pete’s friends and colleagues,

Thank you all so much for your words, thoughts and ideas on how to celebrate Pete’s life and good work. We very much appreciate it.

My brother and I (Pete’s niece and nephew) have had a long chat about what we would like to do regarding a memorial for Pete. And I am now in a position to update everyone on what’s going to happen.

Firstly, Pete is to be cremated at Canford Crematorium, Westbury on Trym, on the 8th June at 9.30am. If anyone would like to attend this I would ask that they get in touch with Pete’s son Mark [ clairebear7@tiscali.co.uk ] to discuss attending.

Secondly, there will be a plaque and thank you for not driving sign dedicated to Pete erected during the bike week (14th-21st June). Mike Ginger is coordinating this [ finecarrots@yahoo.co.uk ] so please contact him to find out the details.

Thirdly, and most importantly to us, we are planning to scatter Pete’s ashes in a place that was very special to him. The place my brother and I have chosen to do this is at the place on the bike path where Pete planted several oak trees, near his home and also near his precious allotment. These trees are now big and strong and he was immensely proud of them. As his family this is what we want to do as we feel it would have been where Pete wanted to be. We do not want to set a date for this yet but it is likely to be on a Saturday in mid-July. We will let everyone know as soon as we have finalised the date, giving people as much notice as possible. We would like this to be a celebration of Pete’s life and work and want as many people as possible to attend, and for people to contribute with words etc, as they see fit. So please spread the word where you can.

Thanks again.

Best wishes,



Genevieve and Matthew Taylor







To all of Pete’s friends and colleagues,



Thank you all so much for your words, thoughts and ideas on how to celebrate Pete’s life and good work. We very much appreciate it.



My brother and I (Pete’s niece and nephew) have had a long chat about what we would like to do regarding a memorial for Pete. And I am now in a position to update everyone on what’s going to happen.



Firstly, Pete is to be cremated at Canford Crematorium, Westbury on Trym, on the 8th June at 9.30am. If anyone would like to attend this I would ask that they get in touch with Pete’s son Mark [ clairebear7@tiscali.com ] to discuss attending.



Secondly, there will be a plaque and thank you for not driving sign dedicated to Pete erected during the bike week (14th-21st June). Mike Ginger is coordinating this [ finecarrots@yahoo.co.uk ] so please contact him to find out the details.



Thirdly, and most importantly to us, we are planning to scatter Pete’s ashes in a place that was very special to him. The place my brother and I have chosen to do this is at the place on the bike path where Pete planted several oak trees, near his home and also near his precious allotment. These trees are now big and strong and he was immensely proud of them. As his family this is what we want to do as we feel it would have been where Pete wanted to be. We do not want to set a date for this yet but it is likely to be on a Saturday in mid-July. We will let everyone know as soon as we have finalised the date, giving people as much notice as possible. We would like this to be a celebration of Pete’s life and work and want as many people as possible to attend, and for people to contribute with words etc, as they see fit. So please spread the word where you can.



Thanks again.



Best wishes,



Genevieve and Matthew Taylor

Genevieve said...

Hello, my name is Mark and I am the next of kin of Peter Taylor. The arrangements for his funeral are as follows. Monday 8th June at 9.30am, Canford Crematorium, Canford Lane, Westbury on Trym. All those who wish to attend the funeral are more than welcome. It was felt a Minister would not be appropriate to undertake a formal religious service. Therefore, anyone who would like to say a few words in celebration of Peter's life and his dedication to his environmental campaigning is more than welcome to do so. Anyone who may wish to say a few words then I would suggest you contact the crematorium direct on 0117 9038280. It has also been expressed to not send flowers. However, a thought may be to accept donations on behalf of an environmental campaign group, again any suggestions on this would be much appreciated. Following the funeral, arrangements are being made by Peter's niece and nephew (Genevieve and Matthhew) to hold a ceremony to scatter the ashes in a location they feel is most appropriate, again all are welcome. Further details of this ceremony will be posted shortly.

Mike Ginger said...

A Dedication to Pete 16 June

Some of Pete's fellow campaigners and colleagues plan to do a small dedication to him on 16 June at 1pm on the Railway Path at the Bruce Road access. This will consist of an A3 'Thankyou for not driving' sign and a brass plaque dedicated to Pete's memory.

A few of us will get there at 12 to install the plaque and sign. I think the proceedings will be informal with words in memory of Pete.

If you worked with or know Pete please come. A few words from some of us would be great.

Please pass onto others.

Best Wishes

Mike Ginger

Genevieve said...

Thank you all for coming to say goodbye to Peter today.It made me happy to know how much he was cared for and valued as a friend.I met Peter in '66, when I was introduced to Ilfracombe by Jake his brother.He made me laugh,I loved his music and he was my brother in law. I see aspects of him in my kids and their father.Goodbye Peter, I will go to Ilfracombe for you,and back to Bristol for the rhubarb.Penny.x

Mike Ginger said...

Dedication to Pete
A group of us met on 16 June for Pete's dedication. Pete Fryer, Dennis Brown and Justin Quinnell all spoke fondly of Pete's optimism, as well as his well directed pester power. The area of masonry selected for the plaque and 'Thank you for not driving sign' sign provided some resistance to the drill, but you can see the plaque in place (Bruce Road access, Railway Path). Local people will keep an eye on them.
Pete Fryer can provide A3 size 'Thank you' signs and later in the summer A6 size stickers. Please email Pete at pete.fryer@bristol.gov.uk. Keep spreading the message!
Mike Ginger