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Taylor High Memorial Fund aids Lowestoft Lifeboatman

PUBLISHED: 12:08 15 July 2011

The family of crash victim Taylor High present a bike to Lowestoft lifeboat crew member Bob Lightfoot.

(left to right)  Elaine High , Curtis High, Bob Lightfoot and Gary High.

The family of crash victim Taylor High present a bike to Lowestoft lifeboat crew member Bob Lightfoot. (left to right) Elaine High , Curtis High, Bob Lightfoot and Gary High.

Archant © 2011

WHEN a memorial fund was launched by the family of a young Lowestoft man, they were simply unaware of how greatly his death had touched the people who knew him - or how generous they could be.

But, less than four months after 19-year-old-old Taylor High was killed in a road accident, more than £6,000 has been raised in his memory, with donations being made to various worthy causes.

And this week, Taylor’s family made their latest gesture of hope when they stepped in to help a lifeboatman whose bike had been stolen – by giving him the money to buy a replacement.

Fearing that he would be unable to respond to emergency “shouts”, Bob Lightfoot, assistant mechanic on the RNLI vessel Spirit of Lowestoft, had sent out an appeal to see if anyone could help him out with a second-hand bike.

He was overwhelmed when the High family came to his aid by giving him £150 to buy a new one.

Mr Lightfoot, 42, whose bike was taken while he was shopping in High Street, said: “I was amazed. For the High family to help me with this bike, well, I was over the moon; and when I expressed my gratitude to them I said I wished that there were more people like yourselves in society rather than those that steal.”

He added: “As a lifeboatman, I am on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and have no other transport apart from the bike, so if I didn’t have a bike there’s no way I’d be able to respond to calls and get there in time.”

Taylor, of Hopelyn Close, suffered fatal injuries in the head-on crash on March 26, on the A17 King’s Lynn to Sleaford road in the Norfolk village of Clenchwarton.

His friend, Jamie Gibbs, who was driving the car in which Taylor was a front-seat passenger, was badly injured but is now making a recovery. The driver of the other car suffered minor injuries.

After Taylor’s death, his mum Elaine and dad Gary decided to set up a memorial fund to support community projects, worthy causes and deserving local people. But they could not have foreseen the way in which people would rally round to support it.

“Funds have now reached £6,000, with donations going to the James Paget University Hospital, the Bushido gym (which Taylor used to attend), Help an East Coast Child via the Daniel Felstead fund, to help Louise Dixon/Cole with her dream wedding, and also to Bob to purchase a bike for his lifeboat duties,” Mrs High said.

She added: “The reason we set up the Taylor High Memorial Fund is to help deserving local people and community projects, and so, with Bob being a lifeboatman, we wanted to help him so he can continue saving lives.”

The total was boosted by the inaugural Taylor High memorial darts tournament, held at the Ole Frank pub in Gresham Avenue.

More than 60 people took part in the contest, organised by Andy Aldridge, Garry Bull and Taylor’s uncle, Glen High, and £600 was raised from entry fees and a raffle.

The next event planned is a memorial football match at Crown Meadow at 2pm on Sunday, August 7, which the Highs are organising with Corton FC, the Ole Frank and Lowestoft Town FC. Sponsored swims, karaokes and quizzes are also being organised, and there are hopes that a memorial bench will be unveiled in Oulton Broad.

The Mark Murphy breakfast programme on BBC Radio Suffolk on Monday will be broadcasting from Lowestoft lifeboat station to launch its Seasense This Summer campaign to promote safety on beaches and rivers.

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