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Military send-off for Sprowston’s Steven, 38

Generous and popular Royal Navy man Steven Taylor, who has left £10,000 to charities supported by his local pub, the Brickmakers, was honoured with a full military send-off at his parish church in Sprowston. Some 180 people packed St Mary’s and St Margaret’s Church for 38-year-old Steven’s funeral which included a military guard of honour, a six-gun salute, a coffin draped in the Union Flag and a bugler playing the Last Post. Steven’s navy commander attended the service, along with a number of his service comrades. Other mourners included Norwich City FC managing director Steve Stone. A lifelong Canaries’ fan, Steven was also given a moving minute’s applause by home and away fans during the 38th minute of Norwich’s clash with Queen’s Park Rangers (QPR) at Carrow Road after the suggestion, made by his good friend Mark Boast, went viral on social media. Among those who re-tweeted it was TV and radio broadcaster Jake Humphrey and Norwich City goalkeeper Angus Gunn. Steven would drive for nine hours from his base in Culdrose, Cornwall, to Norwich on a Friday night to attend home games, meeting up with Mark and other members of the Forces 2 Canaries supporters’ group before and after matches. He would then drive back on Sunday, ready for work on Monday morning. And he would often attend away games with another Norfolk member of Forces 2 Canaries, Scott Woodhouse. Steven’s sister Sharon Taylor said he had been a doting uncle who would bet on football matches and put aside any winnings for his niece and two nephews, the children of his twin, Clare. A wake for Steven, who died just nine weeks after being diagnosed with bowel cancer, was held at the Brickmakers. Steven had been a stalwart supporter of the pub’s many charity fund-raisers, often buying £200 worth of raffle tickets and giving back prizes if he won, according to his sister Sharon.  And even if he wasn’t able to attend an event, he would make a generous donation.  Landlady Pam South said they were absolutely overwhelmed and touched by Steven’s £10,000 legacy which would be shared among their good causes. Raised and educated in Sprowston, Stephen left Sprowston High School and straight away followed in the footsteps of his parents, Eileen and Graham, who had also been in the Royal Navy. He had loved his career, according to Sharon, a police officer. A leading air engineering technician, Steven had served on two tours in Afghanistan as part of Operation Herrick and had been training to become a petty officer when he received his cancer diagnosis. The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity had paid for carers so that Steven could spend his final days at home with his parents, according to Sharon. “He was the most generous person – quite quiet, but he would be there at the drop of a hat if you needed help,” she said. Mark added that Steven, a friend for about 10 years, had been a “true gent in the old-fashioned sense.” He added: “To see all those people, including QPR fans, applauding my mate was amazing and heart-warming. It showed football supporters standing as one.”

Steven is also pictured in his Canaries gear with friend Mark Boast, and in his early Royal Navy days, with his twin Clare (left), and his sister Sharon.