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 Barry James RIP
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Bill Aspin
New Member

54 Posts

Posted - 30/06/2009 :  22:00:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It is with a great deal of sorrow to inform those on the East Lancashire birding scene who may be unaware of the untimely death of incredibly popular East Lancs birder Barry James.

Barry finally, tragically, lost his brave fight against cancer, mid-afternoon of 29th June 2009.

I remember very well the first time I had the pleasure of meeting Barry. It was at Fishmoor Reservoir on 31st October 1995 and the American Golden Plover twitch.

From the moment we got talking, Barry instantly came across as a most genuine, likeable chap with a great sense of humour and it was the start of a birding friendship that was to last almost fourteen years.

Indeed, my one regret is not having the pleasure of knowing Barry much, much longer.

Birders who knew him, myself included, always used to gravitate towards Barry when he appeared at a twitch, such was his popularity on the birding scene. Future twitches will be all the poorer without his presence both locally and nationally.

For me one of the most 'feared' sights in twitching upon arriving at the site of a rare bird was that of a triumphant Barry James coming the other way, already with the tick in the bag, a huge grin on his face, giving the big thumbs-up. This meant the pressure was on to see the bird, or risk being 'gripped-off' forever by Barry!!

I fondly remember one of Barry's favourite excuses for having to leave a twitch was for him to say to me "i'll have to go, i've got a pie in th'oven". From this a bit of banter emerged between him and me in which I used to text him that i'd left his favourite pie atop the Pendle trig point, in a bid to entice him to go up looking for Dotterel in spring! - It didn't wash with him, but Barry needed no enticing to ascend Pendle in his annual pursuit of an East Lancashire Dotterel.

One of my favourite birding memories with Barry was when He and I were wildlife watching in general at Cross of Greet in Bowland. Parked at the bottom car parking area, we were just about to leave in separate cars when we spotted a large raptor flying directly away at the top of the valley. We both looked at each other and shouted "Osprey!" in each others faces. What followed was an almost suicidal drive in convoy up the winding road of White Greet and over the top to Whitray Fell where we intercepted the Osprey as it did a close flypast. A magic birding moment shared with Barry which I will never forget.

God bless you Barry. It was a true pleasure to have known you and I know that I speak on behalf of every birder on the East Lancashire birding scene who similarly had the pleasure.

RIP

Bill Aspin.

tonyc
Administrator

362 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2009 :  10:25:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Barry was a member of the ELOC for many years, where his cheery, nay chirpy, character was always a pleasure. Although he had to give up birding part way through the year, some of the records in the 2008 ELOC Bird Report were Barry's; it will seem very strange to prepare the 2009 Report without any input from him.

In the field my abiding memory was of a small figure in an anorak of such an unusual shade of green that you could recognise him from a long way off. From the hide at Stocks I could tell that it was him on Merrybent Hill. I never knew him without a smile on his face and he was always willing to share his knowledge and expertise.

For those wishing to say their last farewells, Barry's funeral is at Walton Wrays Crematorium, Carleton Road, Skipton, BD23 3BT at 14:20 on Friday 3rd July.

God Bless You Barry.

Tony Cooper - Chairman ELOC
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John Wright
Starting Member

1 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2009 :  11:12:28  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
East Lancs birding certainly won't be the same without Barry's smile. He was a great person to be around because he had such a warm and considerate nature. He also loved a bit of banter and we regularly joked about Burnley's chances of getting into the premiership!

I have so many fond memories of Barry, in particular, all the gentle leg pulling I got on my annual Dotterel hike up Pendle. Not usually in the best of shape I would arrive at the summit red faced and out of breath. Barry would invariably be already up there, beckoning me over and joking that the birds had just flown!

Birding with Barry always made the experience so much more enjoyable and the happy memories will always endure.

We are going to really miss you - rest in peace.


John Wright
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steveg
Junior Member

125 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2009 :  12:39:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was cutting my hedge when I received the very sad news of Barry's death from Tony Cooper, and my thoughts then drifted to the last time I saw him.

It was possibly two years ago now early morning on Pendle Hill when we both met by chance, he thought he had heard a Dotterel, and I wasn't sure if I'd just seen one fly off in the distance. We then decided to split up, I continued to search around the trig and Barry was to walk down to the cross stile area. Within about 10mins I was fortunate enough to locate one and shouted to Barry, he quickly dashed over and we both did a high five.

It's always a memorable moment when you find a Dotterel on Pendle Hill and even more so in the company of such a cracking bloke as Barry James.

My sympathy goes out to all Barry's family and friends

RIP
Steven Grimshaw

Edited by - steveg on 01/07/2009 12:41:17
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MikeWatson
Starting Member

23 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2009 :  20:08:57  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Barry was a lovely guy and will be missed. Although I am relatively new to East Lancs he always made me feel very welcome and I spent some happy hours chatting to him in the cold at places like Champion Moor, whilst watching Short-eared Owls and Hen Harriers and of course on Pendle, both of us twitching dotterels found by JM. His memory will live on amongst us in these places. Very sad news.
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allenh
Senior Member

1111 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2009 :  09:52:25  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I first met Barry in 1985 when we were on a twitch to Spurn to see Radde`s Warbler. Since then our paths crossed regularly and I shared a couple of foreign birding trips with him. My fondest memory of him was at Tikanem in Goa. We were watching Paddyfield Warblers with the sun on our backs and the sound of indian music floating across from some celebrations at a nearby village. Barry turned to me and said`Hey Al, it doesnt get much better than this`. One of the magic moments that you never forget. That was Barry enjoying 3 of the many things that he loved, sunshine, lots of birds and company. We reminisced about that day on many an occasion on cold windy days at Dunsop or Langden. Raptor watching in Bowland will never be the same without him. I never saw him without a smile on his face or a friendly greeting. I know every birder on the local scene will miss him. Goodbye and God bless.
Allen Holmes.


Allen Holmes
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tonyc
Administrator

362 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2009 :  14:35:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
(I have copied this message, posted on the Calderdale Blog on the day of Barry's death, to show that birders from further afield will also miss him - Tony Cooper)

BARRY JAMES
I appreciate this is probably not relevant to a lot of the current Calderdale birders but those who covered the Walshaw Dean area in the "old days" will be as saddened as I am to hear that Barry died earlier today. Barry was one of those priceless people who after spending even only a few minutes with you felt so cheered and positive (and that takes some doing on a dull day at Walshaw!), a great sense of humour and a real pleasure to have known. RIP Barry.

Nick Carter
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Bill Aspin
New Member

54 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2009 :  11:01:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Posted on behalf of Kevin Singleton:

Hard to put into words. My thoughts go out to his immediate family, the world has lost a true gentleman.

I will always consider myself fortunate to have Barry as a friend. I was introduced to him by Terry Lally. Barry had just taken up Birding and Terry was on Lower Foulridge pointing out a Little Gull. We exchanged a few pleasantries and phone numbers and Terry said if there is owt about then could I let him know.

This started a friendship that lasted for years. Barry was a social birder, he loved birds, but loved the craic with the lads just as much.

I will never be able to think of Barry without a smile coming to my face. We had such good laughs. He was always remiss with people's names.

One afternoon long before pagers and mobiles, I returned home. Barry had left a message with Carole to say that Ron Plunkett had found a potted snake at Roggerham Gate. She said the message was verbatim but Barry was at a call box and she may have heard it wrong. It turned out in his excitement of passing on the information things had become mixed up. The true message was John Plackett had found a Spotted Crake at Lea Green. From that moment on John Plackett was always Ron Plunkett.

You could also tell the high esteem Barry was held in. Over the past few months during his illness if you bumped into another birder the first question was always have you seen or heard of Little Barry, prior to that its was always "owt about".

I am sure we will all miss him , Rest in Peace Little Barry.

Kevin
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tonyc
Administrator

362 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2009 :  17:50:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The affection in which Barry was held is shown by the large number of people, including many from the birding community from East Lancashire and beyond, who attended his funeral; so much so that at least half of them had to stand outside the chapel in the pouring rain.

Barry's widow has been given a copy of all the messages posted above.

For a further tribute, with photographs, visit http//babb2.blogspot.com/


Tony Cooper
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Gareth Morgan
New Member

52 Posts

Posted - 05/07/2009 :  21:54:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Forget the death of Michael Jackson the death of local birder Barry James on Monday 29th June 2009 to me and the birding community of East Lancashire is a much greater loss. He may have only been a small guy but Barry or 'Bee Jay' as he was also known, had a big heart and never had a bad word to say about anybody.

Spring time was always Barry's favourite time of year when a lot of the local birders would do the yearly pilgrimage to the Trough of Bowland in search of displaying raptors on a warm spring day.
I remember being up there one year with Barry stood next to me with ten or so others watching the birds do their bit when I went to ask Barry a question only to realise he was no longer stood at my side but lying on his back on the grass 'bins' to his eyes and saying "it's showing well isn't it!" well the sight of him had everyone in stitches which is just the way he loved it as he loved to be the joker in the pack.

For some people the name Barry James was one they would fear especially in the spring when you were out trying to track down the first returning migrants of the year - Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Wheatear,you name it Barry James always managed to see one first!

Although I had only know Barry for about 5 years it was always a pleasure to be out birding with him whether it was locally or further a field on the odd 'twitch', some were more successful than others. I can remember our worst dip and one that was of great amusement to us both and several others. It was for a Black Stork, having done two 'dip' trips to Anglesey and one to Newcastle missing the bird by minutes we finally connected with one at the end of August 2008 at Cawood, North Yorkshire having covered some 1000 miles trying to get it in the book! Unfortunately this was to become Barry's last 'twitch' and 'lifer' as he started to become ill shortly after and so never did manage to get the one bird he longed to see - a Redflank Bluetail.

Living in Colne, Barry's local patch was that of the area around the Foulridge Reservoirs and he spent many a happy hour walking around the area in search of the 'big one'. I remember just a few months ago when there was a small group of local birders gathered on the causeway of the Upper Foulridge res. all watching a Longtail Duck and Red Throated Diver that was there as I scanned around the crowed I said to a friend that was with me this don't seem right the one guy that should be here can't be - that guy was Barry!

After attending Barry's funeral and wake on Friday I left the 'Crown' to go and meet my wife and daughters but instead of doing that I found myself sat on the banks of Lower Foulridge Res with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye as I remembered all the laughs I had with Barry over the years.

To everyone I know Barry was known as the 'Daddy' and we were all his sons!

You may have left us Barry but you'll never be forgotten, I hope the birding is good up there!!!

Gareth Morgan


ghm
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MargaretB
Starting Member

41 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2009 :  21:21:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I can only reiterate what has been said above and add the thought that finding a new bird will never be the same again!

God bless you Barry,

Margaret
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Mark Fanshawe
Starting Member

1 Posts

Posted - 10/07/2009 :  18:27:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was birding in Scotland when I heard the very sad news.
Barry was a great guy with an amazing enthusiasm for both birds and people and it was a pleasure to have known him.
0ne of my last birding memories of Barry was at Brockholes in April 2008 when 3 Ospreys passed through on the same day. I remember the huge grin on his face and the familiar big thumbs up when 1 of the birds conveniently perched up on the nearby Motorway lamp post!
With his great sense of humour Barry regularly had us all in fits of laughter with tales of his 'Dyson days'.

We will all miss him.

Goodbye and God bless Barry.

Mark Fanshawe
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