Tributes paid to stalwart fundraiser

Swindon Advertiser: Barrie Smith with his wife Kathleen Barrie Smith with his wife Kathleen

IT IS RARE to find someone who is a musician, sportsman, composer, fundraiser, poet, quizmaster and family man, but Barrie Smith was all of these and more.

Former headteacher Barrie, 76, of Haydon Wick, died on December 12, just two months after being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer.

He was well known and loved throughout the town, having taught at Moredon Primary School, Mountford Manor and Ruskin Junior School before moving to Rodbourne Cheney School where he was headteacher for 17 years.

He left his mark on every school he taught at, writing many musicals for the children and passing on his love of music which he inherited from his father Reg, a well known percussionist.

His wife Kathleen, who he met at St Paul’s College in Cheltenham when he was 20, said: “Music was in his blood. It had played such a large part in his life, he felt it could play a part in the lives of those he taught. “He absolutely loved teaching, he was firm but kind. At Rodbourne Cheney School he created a family atmosphere. He always said there was a fourth R in education – relationships. I was a headteacher in Penhill, so that was both of our mottos throughout our careers.”

When he retired in 1993, staff arranged for him to have a hot air balloon ride from the school and a drive around the playground in a vintage car.

Despite his busy career, Barrie, who had two sons, Richard, now 51, and Ian, 48, and three grandchildren, found time to help raise money for local causes, including building a Scout headquarters in Gorse Hill.

He was part of the inaugural committee for the Friends Of Swindon Young Musicians and spent years raising money for them.

Barrie was a past president of the Swindon Probus Club and was on the first governing body at Haydonleigh Primary School. He was heavily involved in the Haydon Wick Bowls Club and ploughed years into fundraising to pay for a new club house. In the mid ‘90s he organised a Christmas concert at the Haydon Centre with the Aldbourne Band to help raise money for the club, and the event was such a huge success it has been held every year since.

“He even managed to attend the event this year, just two weeks ago, sadly he was in a wheelchair this time, but he made it,” said Kathleen.

“Barrie dealt with his illness stoically. He lived a wonderful life.”

A celebration and thanksgiving service will be held on Friday at 11.30am, at St Mary’s Church, Cheney Manor Road. Donations can be made to Willows Counselling Service, which he also supported.

Comments (3)

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10:31am Mon 17 Dec 12

umpcah says...

I went to Headlands Grammar School with Barrie all those years ago. He was a top bloke even then. R.I.P. Barrie.
I went to Headlands Grammar School with Barrie all those years ago. He was a top bloke even then. R.I.P. Barrie. umpcah

11:38am Mon 17 Dec 12

Ian13 says...

My condolences to Kathleen, Richard, Ian and their families.
We were neighbours for many years and I often heard Barrie playing the piano.
Barrie was a real gentleman and left a big legacy at his schools.
As Chair of Governors at some of them now I thank him for all that he did for the children in his care.
My condolences to Kathleen, Richard, Ian and their families. We were neighbours for many years and I often heard Barrie playing the piano. Barrie was a real gentleman and left a big legacy at his schools. As Chair of Governors at some of them now I thank him for all that he did for the children in his care. Ian13

11:41am Mon 17 Dec 12

tucker81 says...

Very sad news, Mr Smith was my headmaster at Rodbourne Cheney. His Christmas play musical numbers are still in my memory after 20 years. He was a close friend of my grandfather who used to build the props for the plays. Barry and John Merriman were the best things about my childhood at School, they are both sorely missed.
Very sad news, Mr Smith was my headmaster at Rodbourne Cheney. His Christmas play musical numbers are still in my memory after 20 years. He was a close friend of my grandfather who used to build the props for the plays. Barry and John Merriman were the best things about my childhood at School, they are both sorely missed. tucker81

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