John Taylor first met Gracie after ‘Our Gracie’s Working Party’ in Newcastle 1947. He waited at the stage door for Gracie, but she told him that she was ‘Too tired, write to me, love.’ John did this and Gracie sent a signed photograph and note, telling him the next time she was in the area to write to her at the theatre. The following year, he did just that and Gracie sent him tickets and a note to come backstage. She told him that the next day she would call for tea on the way to her next town, which she did -surprising the next door neighbour by singing ‘Wish Me Luck’ as she left an hour later.
Over the next few years, John started a friendship with Gracie through letters whilst John was in the Navy, and was invited to Peacehaven to visit whilst he was on leave – meeting all of Gracie’s family. Gracie performed requests for her ‘friend in the Navy’ on the WISK half hour, and sang ‘Nature Boy’ especially for John on one of her TV appearances.
John was eventually invited to Capri to stay at Gracie’s home on holiday, and when he married his wife Anne, Gracie took to her similarly well. John spoke to Gracie almost daily on the telephone, sending her newspaper articles, books, records and other items to Capri at her request. He and Anne spent every Summer holiday with Gracie and Boris on Capri. Whilst Gracie’s family were told to stay in the nearby Regina Christina hotel when they visited Capri, John and Anne stayed on loungers in Gracie’s private sitting room bought especially for their visits.
John and Anne were with Gracie until 2 days before she died, and sat around the piano on 25th September 1979, Gracie gave her last private concert to Boris, John and Anne. The next morning, Gracie gave John what was to become his inheritance from Gracie. The following night, he spoke to Gracie on the telephone, who thanked him for everything he had done over the years for her. The next morning, Boris called John -the first person in England to hear that Gracie had passed away.
John and Anne continued to stay with Boris on Capri until his death, and they visited every year since to pay their respects to their dear friends. Sadly, Anne Taylor died in April 2012, but John continues the legacy.