TRIBUTES have been paid to one of Saddleworth’s best known and best loved characters, Barrie Ashley, who passed away on Thursday, April 16.
Barrie, 67, lived in Greenfield and worked for more than four years at Saddleworth School. He leaves two older brothers, Martin and Brian.
It is understood Barrie died from a coronavirus related illness and passed away at Royal Oldham Hospital.
Saddleworth School announced the sad news on social media.
They said: “It is with great sadness that Barrie Ashley passed away this afternoon.
“The Saddleworth family are all deeply upset by this tragic news and Barrie will be sadly missed by everybody at Saddleworth School and our community. RIP Barrie.”
Joe Wheeler, a former school head boy, described himself as “Absolutely heartbroken to hear about the passing of ‘our Barrie’.
“A true saint of Saddleworth School and beyond. A man who had the ability to lift anyone’s spirits with the slightest of ease. A real gentlemen.
“R.I.P Barrie. You will be so dearly missed from our community. My love and thoughts goes to your family at this tragic time.”
Linda Finan is steward at Boarshurst Band Club in Greenfield. Her partner, Steve Ashley, and Barrie are cousins.
She had been updating Barrie’s concerned friends and acquaintances of his condition for several days.
“It is so sad because everyone round here knew Barrie,” she told the Independent. “He certainly kept himself young
“Barrie was a character that is for sure. I put up a post on Facebook and people have shared the sad news and been passing on their condolences.
“We are now waiting to hear news of Barrie’s funeral.”
Helen Scargill said: “So sorry to hear of the passing of Barry he was so lively, funny and a genuine lovely man xx
Rachel Wood said: “So sorry. Thinking about all the family at this sad, sad time.”
Last summer Barrie, known as Baz, was invited to attend Saddleworth School’s Year 11 Prom night at Saddleworth Hotel.
Executive head teacher Mathew Milburn described Barrie as: “An absolute star, a true character and with a heart of gold.”
Barrie was a former Saddleworth School pupil.
• Barrie’s funeral will take place on Wednesday, April 29.
His final journey through Saddleworth will start from Pogson and Armitage’s chapel in Diggle at 12pm, passing through Uppermill along High Street at approximately 12.15pm, down Chapel Road and passed Tesco’s Greenfield then along Chew Valley Road to the roundabout at The Clarence then back again to Station Brew before going onwards to Oldham for the cremation.
Feel free to pay your respects to Barrie and support for the family along the route. Please wear something white, which is a colour Barrie loved.
Please remember to stick to social distancing rules because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Family members only will be allowed at the funeral due to government guidance. Barrie’s chosen charity is Dr Kershaw’s Hospice.
When possible, there will be a service of remembrance and a wake to celebrate Barrie’s life.