Poignant moment as campaigner Prema's funeral cortege pauses outside gates of Preston's Harris Orphanage

Harris Orphanage campaigner Prema Taylor's final journey took her past the Preston city treasure she fought so hard to preserve.

By Brian Ellis
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 3:45 pm

Her funeral cortege paused briefly outside the gates of the Victorian gem in Fulwood for a moment's applause from supporters who had gathered to say a final farewell.

Retired lawyer Prema, who died after a brave year-long battle against cancer at the age of 62, was the inspiration behind the crusade to prevent Harris Park becoming a housing estate.

Followers have picked up the baton and say they will continue the fight she started.

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Prema Taylor's funeral cortege pauses outside the gates of the Harris Orphanage.

And when she was laid to rest today they lined Garstang Road to acknowledge her contribution as the hearse stopped outside in a poignant tribute before continuing its journey to the city's crematorium.

“We promised Prema we will carry on and do our very best,” said Joanna Adams who took over running the campaign when her good friend became too ill.

"I talked to her via FaceTime from her bed just before Christmas about where we were up to and assured her we would carry on our campaign to find a sustainable future for Harris Park - a future the whole community could enjoy and benefit from, a future that would have the heritage and wishes of Edmund Harris at its heart.

"Prema was a huge inspiration to me. Her calm but determined approach to matters is something I hope to emulate."

Prema also launched a campaign to stop the waste of prescription drugs in the NHS.

The Friends of Harris Park have already overturned one planning application to put houses on the historic site and are now battling to stop a follow-up scheme.

In the days before she died, Prema left a message for her family to share on the group's Facebook page.

It read: "I have lived a wonderful life. Had the privilege of meeting so many inspirational people. Experienced the wonders of the world. Been surrounded by the love of my immediate and extended family and some wonderful friends. Been lucky to get bailed out of various scrapes in my life - many of which I will not share with my darling daughter!

“I leave with no regrets. Regrets are pointless. Life is never perfect. Some things cannot be fixed and the only thing in those circumstances is to be able to say you tried.

Supporters lined Garstang Road to say a final farewell.

“Remember me with love and please gloss over my mistakes and imperfections. I’d rather you laughed together at amusing memories than shed tears at my passing.”

Harris Orphanage, the Victorian complex which Prema had battled so hard to preserve.