Tributes paid to former Morecambe pharmacy boss who lived life to the full

Well-known Morecambe businessman, musician, churchman, charity worker and magistrate Barrie Wood has died, aged 84.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Monday, 9th August 2021, 12:38 pm
Barrie Wood.
Barrie Wood.

He owned the M.B. Wood pharmacy shops in West End Road and Marine Road, was a proficient violinist, belonged to Sefton Road United Reformed Church nearly all his life and was a Justice of the Peace for 35 years.

“Barrie always said he'd had a great life and he certainly lived it to the full,” said Phil Gardner, a friend, at the funeral.

A proud Yorkshireman, Barrie was born in Pudsey in 1936 and moved to Morecambe aged 10, attending Sandylands Primary School and then Morecambe Grammar School.

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Barrie Wood.

He was encouraged musically by his father, Sam B. Wood, conductor of the Alhambra Theatre orchestra, music teacher and composer, and became lead violinist while at school.

Also as a teenager, Barrie was a Sunday School teacher at Sefton Road Church.

In 1962 he sang “Up the Reds” with Storeys Band, which was put on vinyl and played each week at Morecambe Football Ground for “The Shrimps” team.

He was an examiner with the Victoria College of Music and played numerous instruments.

One of his proudest moments was when he conducted Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band playing their signature tune, the march “West Riding”, composed by his father in 1943.

Barrie enjoyed helping his father with their illuminated garden on Heysham Road and collected for various charities.

“This was the start of him always helping others and a great awareness of helping in the community,” Barrie's niece Beverley Farebrother said in a eulogy read by Mr Gardner.

His childhood ambition of having his own business came to fruition after studying pharmacy at Bradford, where he won the coveted Bradford Institute diploma of technology and gained the Pfizer prize for being one of the top students.

It was at the West End Pharmacy where he met his future wife Josephine French. They married in 1964 at Green Street Methodist Church. Josephine died in 2014.

Barrie and Josephine played bassoon and clarinet duets.

Sefton Road Church was renowned for its Gilbert and Sullivan operas and concert parties, their weekly shows being a sell-out.

The couple also loved sport, both being keen badminton players. Barrie also played cricket with the church team.

Cars and Model T Fords were a great hobby.

Barrie was treasurer for 30 years and president of Morecambe Men's Committee, which did incredible work for local hospitals, the hospice and special schools.

As first chairman of Bolton-le-Sands Abbeyfield Society, he worked tirelessly in finding a suitable house and overseeing its conversion.

As a Freemason, he dedicated many years to Sandylands Lodge, now Poulton-le-Sands Lodge, from 1963 and became Worshipful Master in 1980.

He was appointed a local magistrate in 1971 and was the longest-serving on his retirement in 2006, having been chairman of the licensing committee.

Barrie died peacefully in the Royal Lancaster Infirmary on July 22 and his funeral, conducted by Canon Linda Macluskie, Vicar of Sandylands, took place last Tuesday (August 3) at Sefton Road Church, to which donations in his memory were invited. Cremation followed at Lancaster.