Today I learned the sad news of the death yesterday of Sir Teddy Taylor. MP for Southend East and later Rochford and Southend East for 25 years he was truly dedicated to this town. He was an MP for over 40 years, the first 15 years or so spent in his native Scotland but when he came to Southend in 1979 I am told he quickly became very much a part of the town. When I arrived here in 1992 he was a well-known popular figure and a visible part of the community. I cannot say that our politics often, if ever, aligned but he was a gentleman and could be relied upon for a good debate. He had an opinion on everything and would express it with vigour.
Sir Teddy and I both appeared in a short film once about The English Breakfast as we were both regular visitors to the Alexandra Bowling Green Café in the early 2000s. I remember often bumping into him over a “Full English Super Special” and he was friendly and engaging even when we were disagreeing about Europe, the education system in Southend or capital punishment.
Whatever his politics and whatever you thought of his views there is no denying that Sir Teddy gave of himself to this town and its people for 25 years and even after he retired he never stopped being a part of this community or lost his love of this place. Whilst I never agreed with his politics I cannot fault his service to Southend, he will be fondly remembered by many in this wonderful town, including me.