Thursday, 4 December 2008

Barry Newboult

Barry Newboult was born in Sheffield on the 30th November 1933.

He was clearly a bright young man who passed a scholarship exam which enabled him to attend one of the top schools in Sheffield. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough money for him to continue full time education so he left school at 17 and went to work for Hadfield's, where he was involved in specialist steel work. 

His education continued through night school where he gained a BSc and then was released by Hadfield's to complete an MSc. His Job title, Margaret informs me, was Christallographer, which I think has something to do with the way atoms are arranged in metals - clever stuff! 

Alongside work and study he also made time for a social life. He met Margaret at a church dance and they eventually married. The two of them had a very strong and positive relationship. Margaret tells me that they never fell out in 46 years and their two girls have said much the same - so it must be true. They enjoyed many of the same things but were also happy to have different interests as well.

Family life was very important to Barry. Heather tells me that the absolute highpoint of every family holiday was him taking over bedtime stories.  But he didn't just read them, he would take one of his fairy tales, Cinderella, Snow White or Hansel & Gretl, and enchant it with gruesome extra detail, much to the delight of his daughters.

He was diagnosed with MS at 17 but it only began to bother him in his early twenties. He was, however, very fortunate that the disease progressed very slowly, allowing him to live a very full life. It never stopped him doing anything and they were never forced to cancel a holiday. He was able to work and get around, making good use of his car, wheel chair and scooter. 

The steel industry, however, did begin to face serious difficulties. In 1979 Hadfield's offered the option of redundancy and Barry decided that it would be wise to accept. He decided that the future would be in computers and so took a three month residential course at the Queen Elizabeth School for the disabled.

Through this course he met a man who told him about a new centre in a place called Milton Keynes which was run by SCOPE. He couldn't find work in Sheffield and so the decision was made to move south. He was offered a voluntary post at the centre and the council provided them with an appropriate house.

Although it was a difficult move in many ways. It turned out to be a good choice. Barry enjoyed his new work which involved programming - and wrote programs for a number of local schools. This work eventually began to tail off but Barry continued to work at the print shop at Neath Hill - where he polished his publishing skills which have been used so prolifically in this church.

Barry's links to St Mary's began through the Fellowship Singers - a local group that involved people from a number of local congregations. When Agnes Yates decided to restart the choir here, Veronica seems to have recruited Barry and Margaret. Their involvement in this church has been significant since then. Not only have they sung in the choir, but Barry also became the communications supremo - producing the weekly and monthly newsletters and much more besides... He was also a great help to Margaret in her work with wedding couples - a responsibility to which both of them gave a great deal of commitment, professionalism and genuine care.

How will he be remembered?

His daughters remember, necklaces bought after winning a sweepstake at work, the lego house he built Christine while looking after her with chicken pox one day,  teaching Heather to drive safely on the motorway, Sheffield Wednesday,  the Guardian newspaper and his dry, dark sense of humour.

Many people will remember the practical help and support he gave them - or the work he did with them.

In this church he will be remembered for his commitment, his publications and the things he did with Margaret.

Many people will remember him as a friend.

I asked Margaret what three things she thought he would be remembered for. I think most of you would agree with her list:

He will be remembered for the way he got things done - quietly, competently and reliably...

He will be remembered for the remarkable way he coped with his MS - without complaint or self-pity...

Most of all, he will be remembered for his dry sense of humour - mentioned by many people in the many cards of condolence which have been sent.

We'd like to thank you Margaret for sharing him with us and let you know that we'll all be missing him. 

It has been good to know you Barry and we thanks God for all that you have brought to our lives. May God bless you as your journey continues and may we all meet again in God's kingdom where all will be well.

(Extract from Tribute)

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