I first met Barrie, not long after I joined Neuroendocrine Cancer UK, about 7 years ago, at a Natter group:
one he co-founded and facilitated in Letchworth Garden City.
He’d been diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Cancer in 2008, and first became aware of and involved with
the charity in 2010. He was a stalwart supporter of our aims and activities to raise awareness, give fellow
members of the Neuroendocrine Cancer community a voice and a forum, a safe space, to exchange
information, share experiences, providing mutual support and understanding.
To the Natter group he brought a natural talent for making people feel at ease, sharing his own
experiences, with a straightforward openness and honesty. His story of undergoing PRRT, not just as part
of the initial trial (NETTER-01), but also re-treatment is shared here
The Barrie, we got to know through the group, displayed great courage alongside a respectful, generous
consideration of others. He listened in such a way, you knew you’d been heard – and when he spoke he’d
simply say what he meant, and mean what he’d say, . . . often tempered with a dry humour and wry
wit. . .occasionally, targeted, as any Arsenal fans quickly found out!
Barrie was born in Letchworth in 1944, he moved to Baldock, then Hitchin, then the other side of Hitchin,
eventually settling in Fairfield:
“ So, I’ve moved around an awful lot in my life. . . I’ve really seen the world!”
He often described himself as “a retired hack with a jaundiced, cynical view on life”. Indeed, when I first
met him, he introduced himself to me as ‘an old hack’, who ‘dabbled in the local council’, liked good food
and had an ‘appreciation’ of good red wine!
Interviewed about his time as a journalist, he said “we were properly trained on the job… we went to
church fêtes and talked to people – you were involved in the community. In those days, local papers were
the social media – and you actually did an awful lot of campaigning, which was great fun. . . To begin with
you were absolutely petrified, but usually the person opening the door had never been able to discuss
their personal views before, and you gave them that opportunity, . . .”
An opportunity to be heard was a gift he offered to others, whatever he did, wherever he was.
Despite describing himself as cynical, with a jaundiced view, Barrie was genuinely interested in people,
and he believed in community:
“For many years Barrie could be seen walking his much-loved rescue dog, Charlie, around the many
footpaths and wooded areas of Fairfield. His walks took hours as Barrie was always happy to stop and chat
with anyone, and Charlie would patiently watch and wait for his walk to resume.”
He was a parish councillor for the first ten years of Fairfield’s history before standing down earlier this year,
and was chair or vice chair for almost eight years: a leading campaigner for Fairfield to be recognised as a
village, and for the parish council to come into existence. According to the council:
“Barrie has been of pivotal influence. . .He passionately believed in the social benefits of a cohesive
community and decided to try to work to achieve that end,
He was a very keen and active member and could always be counted on for sage advice and a cool
considered opinion. His vast knowledge of how society works was deeply appreciated by all members of
Fellow members and former colleagues added:
“We thank Barrie for all his work to make Fairfield the village it is now. Fairfield would not be the warm and
friendly place that it is but for all the many selfless activities that Barrie threw himself into.
He will be missed.”
A minute’s silence was held at the parish council meeting on September 14 as a mark of respect.
Although he didn’t appear to seek or like being the center of attention — Barrie was central – in his local
community and ours – creating a solid, supportive foundation for our Natter group – from keeping fellow
members connected throughout the pandemic to finding a new venue to allow the restart of face-to-face
meetings again . . .
He offered unwavering support to his fellow Natterers, myself and the charity . . .
. . . to Barrie, on behalf of myself, our team here at NCUK, fellow Natter-ers and members of the wider
Neuroendocrine Cancer community, I offer a heartfelt ‘thank you’ and bid you a very fond farewell
– you will indeed be missed x
A celebration of Barrie’s life Thursday 28th September
– our thoughts are with his family and many friends.
Nikie, and all of the team at Neuroendocrine Cancer UK