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‘He was always a positive man’: Tributes to Covid victim

todayJanuary 12, 2021 2

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Family and friends have paid tribute to a popular Grimston man who worked for the ambulance service.

Barry Jarvis, 59, died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital due to Covid-19 on December 18, with an emotional procession of emergency vehicles driving to the Mintlyn Crematorium on Thursday.

His brother Paul, 64, said the cortège was a fitting tribute having travelled to West Norfolk from Essex for the occasion.

Barry Jarvis' funeral service was held on Thursday afternoon at the Mintlyn Crematorium. Picture: Ian Burt
Barry Jarvis’ funeral service was held on Thursday afternoon at the Mintlyn Crematorium. Picture: Ian Burt

“It caught me by surprise just how big it was,” Paul said. “The scale of it shows how many people he affected and loved him. Many held him with deep respect.

“That was typical of the type of guy he was,” Paul continued. “He was generous with his time. If he could help someone, he would always do the best for them.

The funeral cortege of Barry Jarvis, heading to Mintlyn Crematorium. Picture: Ian Burt.
The funeral cortege of Barry Jarvis, heading to Mintlyn Crematorium. Picture: Ian Burt.

“He was always a positive man in his life and his dealings with people, but family was always incredibly important to him.”

Barry owned a caravan at Heacham and took great pleasure in having family there.

He grew up with Barry in Fakenham where their father was active at the racecourse, and often took them along as a family. He attended Fakenham Grammar School.

In his early 20s, Paul moved to London and encouraged his younger brother to join the London Ambulance Service [LAS] after seeing an advert in the newspaper.

Having started in the fire brigade as a youngster, Barry took up the offer and he would go on to be one of the founders of LAS UNISON, when he was the representative at Canonbury station in North London.

LAS UNISON is Europe’s biggest public sector union with 1.3 million members.

He had worked for the East of England Ambulance Service Trust since 1999, most recently in the HR department having spent two decades as a paramedic.

A big Norwich City fan, Barry took great pride in watching his son AJ play football. AJ is currently in the United States doing a masters having at Bellevue University in Nebraska.

Paul said: “Barry would try to watch AJ’s games when they were streamed online in the middle of the night and totally supported him in following that opportunity in America.”

A Norwich City scarf was displayed on one of the vintage ambulances in Barry’s honour as part of the funeral procession.

As well as football, Barry’s hobbies included birdwatching, horses, barbecues and spending time in his garden.

AJ paid tribute to his father in the eulogy. He said : “You became my best friend. Although your life has been cut short, I urge everyone, including yourself Dad as you look down over us, to be in celebration of the life that you achieved and the battles you overcame.”

He also leaves behind his wife Sarah and two stepchildren, James and Charlotte.

Barry died at the age of 59 on December 18 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital having tested positive for Covid-19 five days earlier. His brother said he had underlying health issues.

The family has thanked all who turned up and took part in the procession.

Donations were set up in aid of Norfolk Hospice Tapping House and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds [RSPB] in his memory following his passing. More than £625 has been raised online.

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