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UK: Tributes Paid To Dignified Richard Campaigner Taylor On His Transition

Richard Taylor, the father of schoolboy Damilola Taylor who was murdered in 2000, has died aged 75.

Taylor campaigned vigorously against gang violence in London after his son, Damilola, was fatally stabbed age 10 while returning home from the library in Peckham. Damilola, whose aspiration was to become a doctor, had moved from Nigeria a few months prior with family.

His tragic death, a result of being slashed with a broken bottle, deeply impacted the nation and remains one of London’s most high-profile killings.

A statement issued on behalf of Taylor’s family said: “It is with a heavy heart that the family announce the death of our beloved father, grandfather and uncle, Mr Richard Adeyemi Taylor OBE, who sadly passed away in the early hours of Saturday 23 March at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, after a prolonged battle with prostate cancer.”

Taylor and wife Gloria established the Damilola Taylor Trust in 2001 to honour the memory of their son, aiming to support underprivileged youth. The former Nigerian civil servant dedicated himself to this cause after Damilola’s tragic death, campaigning against knife crime and sharing his family’s story of pain and loss to raise awareness.

In his efforts to keep Damilola’s memory alive Taylor met with influential people in policymaking circles, engaged with royalty, prime ministers, high profile politicians and celebrities such as  Rio Ferdinand and John Boyega. The Star Wars actor and his sister were among the last people to see Damilola alive before his tragic death.

After three crown court trials, his killers – brothers Ricky and Danny Preddie – were convicted and jailed for eight years in 2006.

Former prime minister Boris Johnson agreed in 2020 to make December 7th, Damilola’s birthday, an annual Day of Hope to honour and promote the work of the trust.

Among those paying tribute to Richard Taylor was Labour Brent Central MP Dawn Butler.

Writing on X, she described him as a “great man and a dear friend” adding that her “deepest condolences go out to the family of Richard Taylor”.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson paid tribute to Taylor on X.

“His work to improve the lives of young people in London in memory of his son Damilola is a fitting tribute and legacy that will continue,” the post said.

Former Labour minister and MP for Camberwell and Peckham Harriet Harman also paid tribute to the respected campaigner, saying “never stopped fighting for other children” to have the chances that his son never had.

“He always had such kind words of wisdom for me. I will miss him. May he rest in eternal peace and may he be reunited with Damilola in heaven.”