In memory of “Baz”
15 May 1943 – BARRIE JOHN HOPKINS – 31 December 2019
Well, he’s at peace now, after nearly 77 years; he had an interesting life. We all know that the last few years have been very difficult for the family, particularly for Pauline. But she kept up her spirits right to the end, and was always fun to talk to.
My memories of Barrie go back to the fairly early days of Lichfield District Round Table 1200, particularly 1982-83 when he was secretary and I was in the chair. He always gave strong support (sometimes I wondered if LDRT had got the roles reversed!). In general, it was a very amicable arrangement; he did most of the work, and I got most of the credit. But there were setbacks.
One spring evening, we went to a meeting, somewhere in Area 5, setting off in my DB4; fine weather, with the roof down. Inevitably, on the way, the weather changed, and we both got soaked. The rainclouds might have been BLACK, but, courtesy of Barrie, the air was most certainly BLUE. When the traffic flow allowed me to stop, Barrie darted under a shop awning, leaving me to struggle with the car roof. Of course, no sooner was the roof up, than it stopped raining – Sod’s Law. We travelled the rest of the journey in silence.
Another incident involved petrol, or the lack of it. Four of us had gone to a black-tie dinner in Rugeley. On the way back, we ran out of petrol at the bottom of Brereton Hill (A51). I knew that there was a petrol filling station at the top of the hill. It was just within sight – we could see a small light. I managed to persuade the three strong men that the solution was to push the car up the hill; I volunteered to steer. Now a DB5 is rather heavy, and I could hear mutterings from behind me, which didn’t sound too friendly. On arrival, we discovered that the pfs was closed – it had a security light. The mutterings became more severe, so I volunteered to hitch a lift home to pick-up the can of 2-star lawnmower petrol from the garage. On arrival at Stowe Cottage, the hostilities of Barrie and Co paled into insignificance when I managed to wake Ruth. After a heated discussion, she got dressed and drove me back to Brereton Hill. By that time, it was probably not far short of 2am. The three young men had calmed down a bit; after all, I had allowed them to sit in the Aston. At the next Table meeting, Barrie presented me with a 2-gallon spare can. Ever since, it has accompanied me in the boot of the Aston, full. Happy Days!
More recently, Ruth and I visited Barrie in Darwin Court. He was in a stroppy mood (no change there then) and conversation was a bit awkward at times. In anticipation of this I had brought some photographs of the “Old Days”, early images of founder members of 1200. I politely asked him if he recognised any of the young blades. “Of course I bloody well do”, was his response. In a further attempt at conversation, whilst standing in the lounge, I asked: “Do you watch much television?”
“Well I would if you’d get out of the f****** way”.
Shortly afterwards, I withdrew, walking wounded, but smiling! Barrie, we loved you, just as you were.
W E W I L L M I S S Y O U
PETER J ROBINSON Past Chairman & Past President