Barbara has been one of our most loyal Friends of St. Michael’s Band. She became a Friend soon after the band was formed by Eddie Malone several years ago. When I asked her why she became a Friend, she said that if others want to do things then she always likes to encourage them.

She and her late husband Joe were brought up in Salford. They were both very athletic and Barbara represented Salford in races and played netball. When she left school, she worked in various places and remembers that her mother insisted that she went home for dinner every day. Luckily Barbara was a good sprinter and when she worked in Cheetham Hill, she had to run home to Lower Broughton, to be faced with a large dinner which she ate and then ran back to work – all in the allocated dinner hour!! 

Barbara loved singing. She sang all the time, sang in several choirs and enjoyed singing with her friend wherever they were but never played an instrument and was envious of her friend who played the piano. She says that if she could choose an instrument, it would be something small, like a cornet. 

Joe was in the RAF and they were stationed in Bedfordshire after they were married. He was a sergeant so this meant that they could hold hands when walking out together! He took part in several sports - played football, was also a runner and, whilst in Bedfordshire took part in the famous Tug-of-War.

They had 2 sons, one lives in Rochdale and one in Barcelona (Barbara visits regularly) and 2 grandchildren. She is very proud of her grandchildren. She says that her granddaughter is an absolute joy who ‘can light up a room’. Her grandson is a talented musician and originally played a baritone horn but now he plays most string instruments, including the ukulele, the guitar and the bouzouki, but his favourite is the mandolin and he belongs to a band called   “The Jaywalkers” – check out their website  - they are amazing!

Barbara gave up work when she started a family, as you did in those days, and when the lads were old enough she started to think about going back to work.  She applied for the job of school secretary and was amazed when she was appointed. She already had a shorthand and typing qualification which came in very useful and she worked there for 23 years.

Barbara started going to church in Salford when she was young without any encouragement from her family. She really enjoyed the services and the fellowship that she found there. She brought her love of the church to St. Michael’s and continues to share her dedication and encouragement, as we all know. She enjoys knitting and belongs to the Needlework group at St. Michael’s. She also likes the theatre and gardening. Her garden is beautiful and is like an oasis of tranquillity. She keeps herself active with her weekly line dancing classes. 
Four years ago she lost her soul mate and best friend, Joe, her husband of 56 years. 

This was heartbreaking but, with the support of her family and many friends, she carries on and now leads the pastoral support team at St. Michael’s Church. The invaluable work that this team carries out is to make contact with people who may be on their own, feel isolated and may need a listening ear or support.
If you are thinking about becoming a Friend of the band do have a chat with Barbara.

                                                                                      Pat Ridgway.

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