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Friday, 19 May, 2000, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
Family mourns Thai elephant victim
The victim's family lead mourners into the church
The injured father of a young woman killed last month by a rampaging elephant in Thailand has led hundreds of mourners at her funeral.

Geoff Taylor is still in a wheelchair with serious leg injuries after the elephant attacked his family during a tourist show on the Thai resort of Pattaya.

His 20-year-old daughter Andrea was gored to death, while her sister Helen, 23, was seriously injured.

More than 200 family and friends gathered for the student nurse's funeral on Friday, in her home town of Billinge, near St Helens on Merseyside.

Mr Taylor, 53, and his daughter are still receiving medical treatment after the incident on 24 April.

The family were at the private-run Suan Nong Nuch park in Pattaya, south-east of Bangkok, when the enraged elephant charged at the crowd.

Andrea Taylor died in hospital shortly after the incident. Helen Taylor suffered serious internal injuries, while Mr Taylor was treated for a fibula fracture.

At the funeral, the retired glass production worker was pushed into the church by a male relative. His daughter followed closely behind with the aid of a metal walking stick.

Mourners included Andrea Taylor's fellow students from Huddersfield University.

A letter sent to the family from the university's vice chancellor, Professor John Tarrant, was read to the packed congregation.

It described Ms Taylor as an immensely popular student, whose death had "created an unfillable void in the lives of many of her friends and colleagues and a deep loss for the future".

The Reverend Dennis Lyon, vicar of St Aidan Church, described Ms Taylor as "full of vitality with a sense of fun".


Dozens of floral tributes were laid in the student nurse's hearse, including one with her name written in red and white carnations.

A note read: "Your beautiful face we see in our eyes, the pain for you in our hearts. Look after Mum and give our love from us, Dad and Helen."

Mr Taylor's wife Jacky died of cancer four years ago. The holiday to Thailand was the first the family had taken since her death.

Reverend Lyon said: "It's hard to believe that we are in this church at Andrea's funeral. A few weeks ago, she was on holiday with her dad and sister and visiting the animal park in Thailand when the disaster struck.

"We wrestle with those unanswerable questions about why Andrea should die so tragically and at so young an age."

The congregation sang Morning Has Broken before Andrea Taylor's friend Danny Sinclair read a tribute.

Ms Taylor was being cremated at a private service later in the day.

An inquest into her death was opened and adjourned on Wednesday at St Helens coroner's court.

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See also:

25 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
Lives of neglect and misery
14 Feb 00 | Africa
Elephants kill endangered rhino
21 Oct 99 | South Asia
Drunken elephants trample village
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