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Obituary: Brian Barnard (1961-2017)
Brian Barnard, who died on 15 March, is remembered by former colleagues as “a committed and capable” member of the Security team.
Brian joined the labour section of the University’s Estates division in 1994, and his competence and work ethic were recognised from the outset.
Four years later he transferred to the Security team as a patrol officer, and in 2003 was appointed as a Security Shift Leader, a position he held until illness forced him to take early retirement in 2013.
Brian developed a wealth of experience that he willingly shared with colleagues, especially new Security staff.
Jacqueline Haines, now Security Coordinator and Administrator, was tutored by Brian when she joined the Security team as a patrol officer in 2005.
She says: “I have always felt honoured that Brian was my mentor; he taught me so much about the job and introduced me to so many people. He knew every inch of the campus and would be two steps ahead of anyone wanting to cause trouble.
“Whatever the weather, he would always be seen walking around in his short-sleeved shirt. He would catch me off guard with his humour, and he made me laugh nearly every day.”
Brian’s sense for being in the right place at the right time frequently resulted in the disruption of crime, especially cycle thefts, or the detention of those responsible for crime on campus.
Roger Morgan, Head of Security, says: “Brian was a significant presence in the Security team, with his encyclopaedic knowledge of the University, including its personalities, and his commitment to his role, which included representing his colleagues as the Unison shop steward.
“Some of his methods might have been unconventional, for example when he ‘tripped’ over power leads, thus permanently disconnecting the music and loudspeakers to some rave near East Slope.
“However, his heart was always in the right place. He really looked after the University, and its people, and his untimely illness brought a premature close to the career of a committed and capable member of the University’s professional support services.”
Away from work Brian was a keen hunter and fisherman, regularly regaling his colleagues with tales of ventures into woods and farmland for game birds and wildfowl, as well as fishing expeditions off Shoreham.
Bob Plowman, Security Supervisor, remembers: “Brian took his job seriously and not much got past him, but he had a great sense of humour. I will always remember the day he called in sick (which was not very often); he told me that while fishing, he had coughed and his teeth had fallen into the sea, smiling at him as they sunk to the bottom.
“Brian was one of the nicest people I have ever worked with and I will always remember him with fond memories.”
Brian regularly led the Security team at graduation ceremonies, where he became a trusted and welcoming presence to a succession of Chancellors, Vice-Chancellors, senior University officers and guests, maintaining his link with the ceremonies after his retirement.
In 1995 Brian volunteered for and joined the University’s Rescue Team, and was trained in the team’s duties connected with fires and other emergencies on campus.
His public spiritedness came through in his work as a coastguard volunteer for HM Coastguard, continuing his duties along the Brighton and Shoreham coastline for as long as he was able to after leaving the University.
Kelly Barnard, one of Brian’s three children, works at Sussex in the Human Resources team. Kelly is raising funds for St Barnabas House, the hospice in Worthing that provided palliative care services for her father, by running the Brighton Marathon on 9 April.
Brian is also survived by his wife Wendy and two grandchildren.
I remember Brian as being a really friendly colleague always made you smile.
Thoughts are with his family. Such a sad loss.
Very sad news indeed. I knew Brian for many years through the Rescue Team and Red Cross group on campus, and used to enjoy catching up with him at the Graduation ceremonies that he volunteered at after he'd left Sussex. We will miss him.
Brian was one of those people that becomes an essential part of the fabric of this place, his loss will be felt deeply by many of us in the Sussex Community I'm sure. Thoughts and prayers are with his family x
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