Preston says farewell to '˜dock diver'

The man whose underwater expertise kept the Port of Preston working for almost 30 years has died after a long illness.

Monday, 26th September 2016, 3:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 1:59 pm
Dock diver John Taylor

John “Jack” Taylor, known throughout the city as the “Preston Dock Diver,” was 83.

John started work at the docks in 1947 at the age of 14 as an apprentice shipwright.

After National Service with the Military Police during the Suez Crisis, he trained as a deep sea diver and spent the next three decades doing essential underwater work in the port including maintaining the huge lock gates.

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“John - or Jack as the lads at the docks called him - was so well-known, people would stop him in the street, even years after the docks closed,” said his widow Frances. “Everyone knew him as ‘Diver.’

“He loved the job and he didn’t just work in the docks, he was drafted in to do underwater stuff further down the estuary at Lytham.

“Local film-maker Jack Ryding made a short documentary about John and his job in 1965. It is a great tribute to a wonderful man.

“When the docks shut he went to work as a prison officer. He was also well-known as a local football referee and was a keen bowler.”

John and Frances moved away to live near Milnthorpe. But his funeral will be held at Preston Crematorium on Wednesday at 4pm.