05 Nov 2021 00:00
Blind veteran passes with only family on the other side of the world.
Geoffrey John Barker 15/11/1927 - 12/10/2021
This week was the funeral of one of our blind veterans, Geoffrey Barker. He passed away last month at the age of 93. His daughter sadly passed away earlier in the year and his son and grandchildren live in Australia. Unfortunately, they were prevented by Covid restrictions from being able to travel to the UK for the funeral.
Mr Barker’s Blind Veterans UK Community Support Worker, Anne, who was with him in his final hours in hospital so that he wasn’t alone, thought that it was a great shame that there would be fewer than five people at his funeral.
She put out a message on her Facebook page to see if anyone in the local area would be able to attend and was overwhelmed with the response.
Rather than four people attending there were over 35. More than 30 veterans and guests from the local Rugby area joined to give Geoffrey the send-off he deserved. This included Wayne, Geoffrey’s fellow blind veteran, who volunteered his services as standard bearer for the service.
During the Second World War Geoffrey was a volunteer messenger for three years when he was 14, he used to ride his bike at night and pass messages for the Army until he was old enough to join the regular Army which he volunteered to do so in June 1945. He joined the Royal Ulster Rifles and was posted to Austria between 1947 and 1948. A keen sportsman, during this time he captained the Regiment’s Rugby and Football teams. His love of sport continued throughout his life, especially watching his beloved Chelsea.
After leaving the Army, Geoffrey joined Lloyds of London and worked for them for 60 years. He met his wife Vera soon after and they were married in the summer of 1950. Their daughter Lisa arrived in February 1951 and son Phillip in May 1952.
Thank you to everyone who has left a message or made a donation in his memory on his tribute page.