Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown leads tributes to Bill Taylor MBE

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has led tributes to Bill Taylor MBE, who played a key role in developing Fife’s economy across four decades.

By Allan Crow
Monday, 19th July 2021, 2:20 pm

He died recently in Adamson Hospital, and his funeral was held at Dairsie Cemetery on Friday.

Over four decades he was at the heart of the development of Fife s economy, first heading economic planning under Fife Reginoal Council and then Fife Council.

He was also heavily involved in a number of organisations where he was held in the highest esteem.

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Bill Taylor (right) with his presentation from Provost Jim Leishman

He was instrumental in the redevelopment of the Kingdom as Fife’s post war 20,000 mining jobs declined in number, leaving only open cast mining by the turn of the century.

At the same time the biggest employer, Rosyth Dockyard and Naval Base, fell from 15,000 to 2,000 - requiring thousands of new jobs to be created.

Having qualified in geography from Edinburgh University, Bill had a spell as an economic planner in Dundee and Tayside before coming to Fife, working initially under Maurice Taylor, who was regional planning officer under the old Fife County, and then under Fife Regional Council.

Bill’s department took the lead in land reclamation, such as the prize winning Lochore Meadows project, and he championed the attraction of new jobs in electronics, IT and in financial services - which replaced many of the jobs lost in traditional industries.

Fife Coast & Countryside Trust presentation to Bill Taylor. From left: Stephen Carter, Chair FCCT Board, Provost Jim Leishman, Bill Taylor, Rt Honourable Gordon Brown, Jeremy Harris CEO FCCT.

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He was a key driver of the redevelopment of Rosyth as a port. He was awarded the MBE for the services he gave Fife and Scotland.

Although he retired on 2001, Bill remained active in many areas of Fife life.

He was a member of the board of Fife College for many years, served as a valued member of Fife Historic Buildings trust and Fife Coastal and Countryside Trust.

He was awarded the MBE for the services he gave Fife and Scotland, and, in 2013, was recognised with a special presentation for services to Fife by Provost Jim Leishman.

Paying tribute, Mr Brown said: “No one I met during all the time I was an MP knew more about the Fife economy than Bill Taylor and no one was more willing to give of his time voluntarily to help others in the pursuit of the best outcomes for Fife.

“I marvelled at his local knowledge which he always put to good use, not only at work but in retirement as well, right up until this year.

“He was a constant source of wise advice over 40 years, during which many Councillors, MPs, and others as well as me relied in his good judgment.

“Fife owes Bill and his family a huge debt of gratitude”.

Alex Rowley MSP, and former leader of Fife Council, said: “Bill Taylor was a great servant to all the communities of Fife.

“He worked behind the scenes without seeking any publicity for himself, making a huge difference to the job prospects of thousands through the decisions he made and recommended, and the work he did.”

Bill is survived by his wife Margaret, son Gordon, daughter Sarah and their families.

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