Barry Needham was killed February 28th 2001 in the Selby Rail crash at Great Heck, which was caused by a sleep-deprived driver.
Barry's wife Margitta writes:
My husband Barry Needham was a man who touched the hearts of many both young and old. The warmth of his generous smile would spread to his sparkling blue eyes. People told me that they could feel his eyes before actually looking at his face. Barry loved to laugh and often saw the funny side of things. He loved music.
When he found enough time he liked to relax while sketching. This was mostly on holiday. Barry loved forests and we often went walking in the Black forest. He sketched for his own pleasure and because I loved his sketches he was always surprised when anyone else admired his work, surprised but very pleased. Barry was in the best of health.
We had been saving for a house and therefore did not have a car. Barry said as soon as we move to our new house we would get a car. Barry never got his car and never spent even one day in his new house. We lived about four and a half miles outside York.
Barry walked to the railway station each morning when he had an early shift. He got up at 4am and left at 5am. There were no buses at that hour. He then took the train to Doncaster where he worked at EWS. I used to tease Barry saying that he had such long legs so he could walk quickly.
On the day of the tragedy it should have been his day off at work, but typical of Barry he went in to help out colleagues. Barry was a man who was so caring, considerate and protective of others; he was killed by a man who showed no respect for life.
Barry's birthday was on March 14th. A few days before the tragedy, I asked Barry what he would like for his birthday, he said "Just for us to be together". One mans dangerous driving meant that Barry would be in his grave by the time his birthday came. His funeral was the day before. I remember Barry as a very giving man. I am grateful for every minute we had together. I am also painfully aware that we were robbed of many more wonderful years.
Barry's colleagues at work thought so highly of him that they have named a golf match after him. They have also named a locomotive after Barry. It has a sign saying "EWS coal train controller tragically killed at Great Heck February 28th 2001". A true Railway man admired for his high regard for safety and his integrity and good humour. Barry worked for the railways, but he had many dreams.
When he was younger he dreamt of working as a Canadian Mounty. Barry loved Canada; to live in the mountains and forests was his dream. He had so many dreams. He also drew cartoon characters. He would have liked that as a profession.
He was so eager to continue learning. He studied computers and computer repair. He learned French in order to speak with our nieces in France. Barry also passed an exam in German. He wanted to be able to talk to the people we met on holiday. Barry learned quickly. I was surprised how he coped with the language in Spain after only having had a few lessons. I would describe Barry as eager to enjoy life. He took things in his stride and always optimistic.
As a child Barry loved to get several small presents for Christmas instead of one big one. This was so true of Barry. He appreciated small things and took pleasure in them. It did not need to be something outstanding or fantastic. He saw the beauty in things that others may have overlooked or not noticed.
I used to work in tourism, taking foreign visitors to Scotland in the summer. These were coach tours of up to 7 days long. When I returned Barry treated the day as a celebration. He had flowers, cards, and the food I liked. It was worth going away to be able to return to such a reception. Now I return to an empty house.
There are so many people who miss Barry. He was a wonderful brother to Keith. He was such a loving son to his mother Dorothy. He would see his mother as often as possible. He always showed up with little surprises for her. Flowers, fruit or magazines. Barry was very attentive to the things people liked. When my mother visited us she talked about a perfume she once had, it was based on the flower Lilly of the valley. That night she found the perfume under her pillow.
Barry was the most generous person I have ever known. He gave so freely of himself and was the most wonderful husband that anyone could ever had. The love that comes from my memories of Barry is eternal.
A Sketch he did below: