Rodney Coleman and Joan Taylor with Peter Taylor's hibiscus-planted ashes A series of scholarships are to be given out to assist children in Africa affected by HIV, those attending the service of thanksgiving for the late Peter Taylor heard this afternoon. In a colourful service punctuated by laughter, anthemic music, wry giggles and even wolf-howls, Taylor, whose ashes were present, already planted with a hibiscus plant, was remembered as determined and inspirational. It was announced that a scholarship in Taylor's name had already been awarded to a young Kenyan boy, Brian, whose father has died of HIV and whose mother has only weeks to live, due to their HIV infection. Brian wants to be an engineer and a close friend of Taylor's, Gwen Newton, has selected him as the first recipient of assistance. Emotions ran high throughout the service, but particularly towards its end when, in a video message, Taylor advised: "I've become very battle-weary... I've gone to my peaceful place where I'll never be ill again." Tributes were paid to the support Taylor received from his partner of seven years, Roldney Coleman, in his declining years as he struggled with twin fatal diseases, HIV and leishmaniasis. Taylor's mother, Joan, and sisters Kate and Yvonne, were at the service, as well as members of Coleman's family and a packed audience drawn from most of the gay communities. As the formal part of the afternoon ended St Matthew's in the City church rang out to a mix of songs ranging from the Muppet Show theme to the defiant show tune I Am What I Am.
Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff
First published: Monday, 23rd September 2013 - 4:31pm
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