A man dedicated to his local community

TOUCHING tributes were paid to former Journal editor Barry Hartley at his funeral service this week.

More than 100 people gathered on Monday at a packed St Margaret's Church in Lowestoft, as family, friends and former colleagues mourned the loss of a 'true gentleman'.

'We have lost someone who was loved and respected by many,' the Rev Geoff Wilson told the congregation.

Born in Cambridge in March, 1937, the youngest of three boys, Barry began his career in newspapers in 1953 as a trainee at the Cambridge Evening News' office in Newmarket.

He was an apprentice journalist when he first met wife-to-be Jackie, and they married in September 1956 and went on to enjoy 'over 50 years of love and happiness together,' the Rev Wilson said.

After being called up for National Service a year after their marriage, Barry joined the RAF and trained as a nurse at the RAF Hospital at Ely. After two years' National Service, he returned to Newmarket in 1959 and then spent five years as a sub-editor in Cambridge before joining the Norwich Mercury Series in 1968.

Barry and Jackie moved to Hellesdon, near Norwich, with their daughter Cheryl during this time, and from here Barry went on to become the Mercury series' editor for five years before being appointed the Lowestoft Journal's editor in 1985.

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The family then moved to Gunton, and the Rev Wilson said: 'This was a move that proved not only good for Barry and Jackie, but for the Lowestoft Journal itself and the whole town.

'Barry's deep commitment to the local community, his involvement and interest in being part of community efforts and local organisations brought so much to life in Lowestoft... His life has touched many people through his writing and his actions, so treasure these memories and the legacy he leaves with us.'

The service included two hymns – Love Divine, All Loves Excelling by Charles Wesley, which was sung at Barry and Jackie's wedding – and Eternal Father, Strong to Save by William Whiting, highlighting Barry's strong links with the RNLI and Lowestoft Lifeboat.

Lowestoft historian John Holmes, a friend of Barry's for more than 25 years, also read W H Auden's poem Stop all the Clocks, which was selected by the family.

In a personal tribute, Mr Holmes said: 'He was a kind and humble man known to support the local community, and The Journal's recent report which said Barry was a 'true gentleman' was the perfect description of him.'