Son’s touching tribute earns a global sports award nomination
A man's heart-warming eulogy to his father, which has been watched by more than 2m people on Twitter, has been nominated for a global award.
An emotional story of John Taylor’s death was submitted to the radio programme Test Match Special by his son, Patrick, of Newark.
The cricket-themed tribute reduced listeners to tears when read out by Jonathan Agnew during the second test match between England and India and a video clip was added to the TMS Twitter, which went viral.
It was noticed by Laureus World Sports Academy chairman Sean Fitzpatrick, the former All Blacks rugby captain.
Fitzpatrick nominated Patrick’s story for the Laureus’ Sporting Moment of the Month, which celebrates moments that look beyond the scoreboard or podium and symbolise the true values of sport, bringing to life the message that sport has the power to change the world.
Patrick said: “My inspiration for the eulogy came while I was on a four-hour bike ride training for a charity cycle.
“When I got home I put down everything on to a piece of paper and then submitted it to TMS.
“Once it was read out on air, the messages of support I received were overwhelming. I would describe the feeling as uplifting.”
On the reception his eulogy received, he said: “It was 74-hours of madness and I have saved a large part of the messages for a scrap book.
“It was nice to see that so many people were able to relate to my situation and take the time to support me, not only with their words online, but their donations too.”
Patrick’s letter read: “My dad, John Taylor, had — unlike the current England batting line-up — dug in and battled doggedly to reach 83.
“He built gradually through his 50s as a true gentleman, a pharmacist, a sportsman and a father of two boys before unexpected cloud cover descended just as he was looking to break free from the shackles and play with the freedom that retirement would bring.
“On an ever-increasingly sticky wicket, he faced up and defended against a beamer in the form of leukaemia, the yorker of muscular dystrophy, the googly of Parkinson’s, the reverse swing of diabetes, and latterly, was struck down by the vicious bouncer of dementia.
“But like fellow Yorkshireman Brian Close, he never winced, complained or succumbed to the temptation of amateur dramatics, he just accepted the cards he was dealt and squeezed every last drop out of life that he could on a single-by-single basis with his amazing care team acting as runners.
“On 83, dad finally faced the inevitable, unplayable delivery and left the field of play.”
Patrick completed a 1,000-mile cycle ride from Land’s End to John O’ Groats with 15 friends and raised more than £100,000 for Meningitis Research Foundation.
“My dad was a huge motivation during the ride and in the end it turned out to be an amazing experience,” Patrick said.
The ride was highlighted by BBC Radio 5 Live, which resulted in £20,000 of donations to his JustGiving page.
Patrick said it was a huge achievement to be nominated for the Laureus award.
“I must admit, I had not heard of the award before we were nominated, but having researched it, I have come to learn how big it is,” he said.
“It is like a global version of the BBC Sports Personality, but on a monthly scale.
“Of course I would love to win it, but I am happy that my dad’s passion for sport is being celebrated.
“He was not only a cricket fan, but a lover of all sports. We had a real connection through sports.
“We were Doncaster Rovers season ticket holders, we went to one day internationals, test matches, and we used to be double partners in tennis.
“As well as cricket, he absolutely loved tennis.
"That was his forte.”
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To support Patrick’s fundraising, search for pat-taylor6 on the JustGiving website or click here.
To vote for Patrick and John in the Laureus Best Sporting Moment for October, visit https://mylaureus.com/ or click here.