Les Taylor remembered

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Peterhead FC’s former vice-chairman and club sponsor, Les Taylor, was memorialised during Saturday’s emotional friendly with Ross County.

The extensive personal and financial commitment the late North-East businessman made to the club before his untimely death in 2010 was recognised with the renaming of Balmoor’s match sponsors’ lounge as the Les Taylor Lounge.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place before Peterhead’s 2-0 win over the Staggies, a club Mr Taylor also had close links with.

Members of the Taylor family were invited to the memorial match and the ribbon was cut by Mr Taylor’s widow Janette, along with their daughter Jill and her husband Jan Stander. The family presented the inaugural Les Taylor Memorial Trophy to the Toon’s Steven Noble after the game.

In a speech made on behalf of the Taylor family, Mr Taylor’s son-in-law, South African-born Scottish cricketer Jan Stander, said: “Les was never a man for the limelight but we as family and friends are proud of his achievements.”

“We are very honoured and want to thank Rodger Morrison for this incredible gesture.”

Mr Morrison, Peterhead’s chairman, praised Mr Taylor in his programme notes. He wrote: “He was a friend to the Ross County board and an invaluable friend and colleague here at Peterhead FC. His absence is still keenly felt by the club and by myself personally. I hope that the members of Les’s family with us today enjoy the occasion.”

Mr Taylor passed away in January 2010 after suffering an aneurysm. The multi-million-pound company he built from scratch - the Les Taylor Group - employed 250 people at the time of his death. He set up his firm in the 1970s and it became one of Aberdeenshire’s greatest success stories. The company’s turnover in the year preceding his death was £32.3 million. The Les Taylor Group includes Les Taylor Contractors, J.G. Fowlie Contractors, Mintlaw Transport and Grampian Building Contractors.

First Minister Alex Salmond paid tribute to Mr Taylor after his death. He said: “He was hugely respected not just in the business community but in the North-East for the contribution he made to many aspects of local life. He will be hugely missed.

Mr Taylor was also a director of Peterhead Decommissioning, formed by local businesses to help Peterhead cash in on offshore decommissioning work, estimated to be worth £15 billion over the next 20 years.