Thousands pay tribute to the Taylors
THEY were not rock stars, politicians, or anyone famous. Allan and Kari Taylor simply loved others, and as the crowd of more than 3000 showed yesterday, they were loved in return.
The popular school chaplain, pastor and teacher and his dance school wife, who were killed in a car accident at Sippy Downs on August 19, were farewelled yesterday in the Coast's biggest tribute service since the death of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin.
About 1800 people packed the Suncoast Christian Centre auditorium at Woombye, and more than 1000 watched on big screens in an adjacent mini-auditorium and from extra seating under a marquee outside.
The crowd included representatives from the highest echelons of the Christian Outreach Centre church in Queensland, school principals and chaplains, and past and present students of the Taylors.
Mrs Taylor's parents, Bob and Fran Sherwell, were clearly in awe of the size of the crowd.
“This is amazing. Thank you so much for being here,” Mrs Sherwell told the crowd.
The Taylors' daughter, Ashleah, flanked by her younger brother, Kallan, and fiance Mitch paid tribute to her parents.
Ashleah, 22, who shares her parents' strong Christian faith, vowed that they would meet again in heaven.
“Until then, we'll keep you in our hearts and in our happy memories,” she said.
Ashleah, who witnessed the accident that killed her parents, was later applauded by the crowd for the courage, composure and forgiveness she had shown.
Featuring dance, song, and video tributes, the two-and-a-half-hour service was interspersed with jokes and laughter in recognition of Mr Taylor's sense of humour and love of a practical joke.
Mrs Taylor's brother, Ken Sherwell, said the couple seemed like chalk and cheese when they first met - Kari was an elegant dancer and musician and Allan a surfing hippy.
“Allan thought Kari was a stuck-up, arty-farty girl and Kari thought, 'My God, he's living in our house!'” he said.
Mr Sherwell said the couple became united in their Christian service.
Mr Taylor had given away a teaching career to become a school chaplain, and Mrs Taylor ran the Machaneh Dance School, teaching children to honour God through the creative arts.
Various speakers told of a couple who always made time in their busy lives to help others.
Mr Sherwell said a written tribute by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, a former classmate of his sister, was testament to the way she and her husband had lived their lives.
“How many of us will have a tribute by the prime minister of Australia to our lives? There wouldn't be a lot of us, but it gives us something to aspire to that even the prime minister of the country would want to remark on the wonderful life you'd led,” he said.
Family and friends remained at the church for up to two hours after the conclusion of the service, many catching up with friends they had not seen in years.
The public service was followed by a private graveside ceremony for immediate family members.
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