Ernie Taylor

ERNIE TAYLOR, 76, a former station officer at Wootton Bassett fire station, was taken to his funeral at North Wiltshire crematorium by a historic fire engine which he helped to restore many years ago.

Ernie was born in Morstone Road, Wootton Bassett, and had one sister, Shirley. He was one of the first pupils at the town’s original secondary school, at Lime Kiln, and as a youngster was interested in motorbikes, enjoyed scrambling and was a keen fan of the Robins Speedway team at Blunsdon.

On completing his apprenticeship he worked for Taymac before joining Devonshire Dairies as transport manager.

He and Marion Strange, who had met at work, married and settled happily in Wootton Bassett, where their children were born, Marilyn in 1966 and Jason in 1973.

The family, members of the Caravan Club, enjoyed wonderful holidays in the New Forest, West Country and Brean. In later years, Ernie and Marion enjoyed holidays abroad, in Ireland, Spain and Florida, as well as Cyprus where Jason and Vicky were wed.

Ernie loved dogs, especially Jack Russells, including a special favourite called Misty. After redundancy from Devonshire Dairies, he set up his own business as a mechanic, and used his lorry to move Moonraker Forklift trucks from place to place.

Ernie was the last station officer at Wootton Bassett fire station, having become a retained fireman in the mid-1960s, when crew used to be alerted by bells in their houses. Ernie served in the fire service for more than 27 years and attended many major incidents. He also took part in many Wootton Bassett carnivals.

Ernie served for nine years as a Town Councillor and was a member of the Memorial Hall committee, which he chaired for some years.

In the mid-1970s , Ernie and his friend, Chris, restored a 1943 Austin fire-engine which subsequently has been involved in Christmas collections for the Fire Service Benevolent Fund. Ernie also bought a vintage fire-engine, to take to various rallies, and to convey Father Christmas to children’s parties.

Ernie and Marion have three grandchildren, Kelly, Paul and Scottwho share fond memories of their times together.

In retirement, Ernie enjoyed a beer, and his TV favourite Only Fools and Horses. He was a fan of Elvis Presley, Tina Turner, Johnny Cash and country and western music.

Ernie will be remembered by his family and friends, as a kind, loving man, happy to help the community.