Tributes to camera man behind Pleasure Island

Michael Taylor
Michael Taylor
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A businessman who developed the Pleasure Island complex on St Annes seafront and owned caravan parks on the Fylde has died.

Michael Taylor, who started his career as a press photographer and worked for 10 years on The Gazette’s sister paper the Lancashire Evening Post, died in hospital on January 16, aged 78.

His national service was spent working as a photographer for the Ministry of Defence travelling around Africa and the Middle East.

Mr Taylor’s company Carr Royd Leisure opened Pleasure Island on the site of the former St Annes outdoor baths in 1993.

It featured a four-screen cinema, bowling alley, amusement arcade and restaurant and at one point also boasted a casino and a static steam train, but the centre closed in 2009.

The cinema still operates as The Island Cinema under new owners.

Mr Taylor, who was born in Poulton and lived in Stalmine, owned the award-winning Sunset caravan park in Hambleton.

His wife Sandy said: “Michael was a strong, self made man. He will hopefully be remembered as being direct but kind, helpful and having a wicked sense of humour. He campaigned to upgrade the image of the caravan industry and he always cared about quality.

“He said he never wanted to retire. To Michael, retirement meant running the businesses he loved and being able to travel as he wanted.

“He did just that being in work seven days a week when at home then enjoying time off mostly cruising or visiting the USA right up until he took ill in July.”

During his career Mr Taylor was a director of Lancashire Tourism Partnership, vice-chairman of Wyre Tourism and a past president of Kirkham and Rural Fylde Rotary. He also served as a trustee at Trinity Hospice.

He was diagnosed with cancer last July and died at Christies Hospital, where he was being treated, following a heart attack.

Mr Taylor, who met American-born Sandy on a cruise on the QE2, leaves two sons, Paul and David, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

His funeral service will be held at 12.15pm tomorrow at St James Church, Stalmine. with burial after at Preesall Cemetery.