18 Nov 2009

John Barnes will be missed

I was very saddened to read news of John Barnes death in the SNJ today. I've copied the article below as it captures some of the energy and passion that I also experienced in conversations with him.

Photo: John at the recent Open Homes Installers fair talking LED

Indeed it was great to meet someone with such a passion for green stuff and ideas to make it happen. John had, for example, offered to put in LED lighting at cost price to all of Stroud High Street if we could find some funds for a half or whole day of consulting - I had already had discussions with the Town Council about a project that we had hoped could be launched early next year. It would have meant up to 95% savings in energy for the shops involved. I was looking forward to working more with John on this project.

This is a great loss to Stroud and I all my sympathies to his family and friends.

Tributes paid to John Barnes - By David Wiles - see SNJ here.

INNOVATIVE, full of energy and a fantastic father - those are just a few phrases used to describe popular Stroud character John Barnes.

John was always buzzing with ideas and was known as a friendly face around the town. But he also suffered from bipolar disorder, a serious mental health problem involving extreme mood swings. Sadly, John took his own life recently aged 36.

His mother, Christine Rogers, 61, said: "I would like him to be remembered as he was, a very kind, caring young man. If you wanted his help, he would be over straight away. He was innovative and very creative."

Born in Wigan, Lancashire on February 9, 1973, John soon moved to Wales where his parents ran a pub. He relocated to Gloucester in 1988 when the family took over the Golden Cross in Southgate Street. John started an electrical engineering course at Gloscat's Park Campus in Cheltenham but left to be an unpaid helper at a small business in Oxford, providing sound and lighting at local gigs. His break came at the age of 18 in 1990, when he was invited to work as a lighting technician at rock concerts in Germany.

John returned to Gloucester in 1992 and then spent the next 10 years touring the world with acts including Iron Maiden, Sting and Blur. He met his wife-to-be, Emma Ordonez, during a night out at Gloucester Guildhall in 2002. The couple married at Gloucester Register Office in August 2003 and celebrated the birth of their son Ruben in April 2005. They lived on a canal barge for a short while and relocated to Chalford in 2006. The couple divorced amicably in 2007 and John, a volunteer with the Samaritans, moved to live above the Retreat in Church Street, Stroud.

His friend Annabell Walker, 35, said: "He was a fantastic father. He had lots of energy and was a lovely person to be around."

Over the last three years, he freelanced around Britain and was also employed to help large corporations develop new ideas. Among his ideas were a pushchair which could be folded to carry on your back and a washing line cover.

John was also passionate about green technology, particularly LEDs, and organised a carbon-neutral festival in Bank Gardens in August 2008. He also installed lighting in the Retreat and organised the light show on the closing night of the Greyhound. John died on October 23. A humanist funeral was held at Gloucester Crematorium on November 5 and the ashes will be spread locally.

He is survived by his mother Christine Rogers, former wife Emma Ordonez, son Ruben, four, brother David Barnes, stepfather John Rogers, stepbrother Peter Rogers and stepsister Lara Rogers.

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