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The Lee Newsletter
April 2015
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newlsettersBarry Irving: an appreciation
By Jon Swain

Many will already know the sad news of Barry’s untimely death and will have their own memories of a wonderful man. Barry and Rowena lived in Fairholm (now The Bakehouse) in Lee Common for many years before moving to Ballinger.

Barry was a man of the highest integrity who gave so generously of himself, his time and above all his joy for life. His interests were many and varied, a love of sailing and music amongst them. The latter was to be the basis of Barry’s working life; he was Advertising Director for Gramophone magazine for many years until it was bought out. True to his principles, Barry disagreed with its direction thereafter and had to leave.

In a hugely competitive arena Barry decided to found International Record Review, a new magazine. This meant putting everything on the line and Barry threw himself into the task with wonderful support from Rowena. It meant that he worked incredibly long hours, but it was the publication he wanted it to be. Despite working so hard Barry still made time for Rowena, their daughter Tamsin and other responsibilities that arrived at his door. No one meeting Barry would ever have guessed at the load he managed so brilliantly.

His sheer zest and enthusiasm were infectious and lifted the spirits of all who were with him. Barry was ever-present at the Flower Show and crafted those wonderful certificates for winners. This reflected his fantastic talent for art, another of his loves.

Barry was a founder member of the Old Church Trust Committee and was instrumental in the huge fund-raising effort that enabled the preservation of that marvellous 12th century building at the heart of the village. He continued on the committee until his death and was a constant at the twice-yearly work parties, keeping the gardens ship-shape. Barry, with his infectious good humour, was the sort of man who was always there when you needed him – and, goodness, we all did. He will be sorely missed.

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