If anyone represented all the characteristics we like to think Charlton Park stands for, that person would be Calvin Taylor. A man of deeds, strengths, standards, sportsmanship, and sociability – we have lost someone who was a part of the soul of the club.
He went to Forest Hill School and joined the Colts in 1981, or thereabouts. “We have to get that prop” was said, despite a heavy defeat to a Thomas Tallis School team containing Wayne, Jacko and others, and that was it. He was hooked. At a subsequent Colts Presentation Evening John Hughes, teacher at Tallis and manager of the team, presented him with his school rugby colours after it was found they were never given while he was there. A photo of that successful Colts team is on the wall in the bar.
Calvin was at the start a lad who wanted to run about with the ball throwing dummies and sidesteps, but, in line with many of his contemporaries, he learnt his rugby with us until he was the fulcrum of a fearsome club team that went through the leagues demolishing all before them, and one of five Charlton Park forwards in the Kent side.
He was above all things a family man, a loving husband and father, but he described Charlton Park as his second family and he admitted that the club gave him another life at a time when he needed it. Everyone felt as if they were his special friend, a sense emphasised by his and Sandra’s huge and possibly excessive investment in Christmas cards every year.
For a time he worked at a camping shop in Crystal Palace, but soon after he met Sandra he said he thought he might like to join the police and she encouraged him to apply. At the time he just seemed too nice – a happy-go-lucky guy unsuited to such a world but not for the last time he proved us wrong. He was perfect for the police.
He was at the centre of club social life and humour – remember the ‘rock’ in the pint at Whitley Bay, the whisky raffle win, and the songs. As Colin Wooster has said, “They’ll be singing ‘Pick a Bale of Cotton’ in heaven”.
Calvin’s life support was switched off last Wednesday 2nd August 2017 at Harefield Hospital. His heart had become too weak. But Calvin was all heart – one of his many qualities so ironically highlighted by such an untimely passing was his determination to make the most of everything – when young he apparently would strengthen his neck muscles by lying on the floor looking up at the television or a book for hours on end. (He had a neck measurement of 20” and a waist of 30”).
I think he is revered at Charlton Park but he was known and loved everywhere, as shown by a wonderful Westcombe Park tribute sent by their John Hughes to the family. A one-club man, positive, strong, skilled, unassuming, unpushy and self-deprecating, loyal, athletic, a man of dignity and fairness, despite the many slings and arrows thrown at him, with a scrupulous sense of right and wrong. He attended home games throughout his illness, always with a smile but also with a forthright insight about a committee decision or a prop who wasn’t positioned properly.
Although there is a huge chasm in the lives of everyone who knew Calvin, our thoughts go out above all to his beloved Sandra, Alex and Georgiana. Charlton Park is their home too. We want to remember him as he was – the life and soul of the party, whose advice we sought, whose opinions we listened to, who was always there. He enriched our lives and we are better for having known him.
‘ … and, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make’