Funeral held for Walsall legend Barrie Blower
A funeral has been held for Walsall legend and ‘man of the people’ Barrie Blower.
Tributes were paid to the former Saddlers president who was well-known for his charitable work.
Mr Blower died in February at the aged of 78, leaving behind daughter, Sadie, son-in-law, Adam and grandson, Connor.
He saved Walsall FC twice in the 1980s and was awarded an MBE in 1993 for his services to the community. He also founded the Caldmore Area Housing Association which revamped social housing for thousands of residents.
Today at St Matthew’s Church in Walsall, his family were joined by club bosses, former players and Walsall dignitaries as they said goodbye.
The wake was held at the Banks’s Stadium following his funeral, which was attended by more than 100 people.
Reverend Jenny Mayo-Lythall, who lead the service, said: “It is wonderful to see how many people have come out to celebrate Barrie’s life.
“He was so well known and so well-loved.
His childhood friend Dougie Bond said: “He was a man of the people.”
Prayers, hymns and poems were recited for Mr Blower.
His coffin was lead into the church. Two floral displays spelling ‘Dad’ and ‘Grandad’ alongside a Walsall flag were placed in the hearse.
Mr Blower was a lifelong Walsall fan who went from being a supporter on the stands up to becoming president.
He founded a group called Save Walsall Action Group, which kept the Saddlers in league football in 1982 and 1986, and stopped plans for ground-sharing.
He also played a key role in the club’s move from Fellows Park to the Bescot Stadium, now the Banks’s.
Alongside his passion for Walsall, Mr Blower was a charitable man who always helped people were he could.
The Caldmore Area Housing Association bought poor standard housing stock into good conditions, which was for the benefit of thousands of residents.
Roy Whalley, a former director of Walsall and friend of Mr Blower's, said: “To those that know Barrie, he was the best friend you could ever ask for. He always wanted to help you out.”
He added: “As long as Walsall FC continues, the man who brought back Walsall will never be forgotten.”
Mr Blower was also into politics and supported the Labour party. He would often campaign and hand out leaflets around election times with his daughter.
A statement from his family which was read out by Reverend Mayo-Lythall, said: “Barrie was one of the most passionate and compassionate people you could meet.
“He gave time to charity, always fought for the underdog and greater good.
“The bond that he and Connor had was inseparable.”
After Mr Blower left school, he joined the Royal Navy.
On his return to his home town, that is when he began working to improve living conditions for residents in Caldmore.
But he would help people from all walks of life - as his friend Mr Whalley recently said “the homeless, the unemployed, single mothers, battered wives, immigrants facing discrimination, the people who had nothing.”
A pillar of strength for Mr Blower was his wife Sharon, who passed away seven years ago.
Reverend Mayo-Lythall said: “Today would have been Sharon’s birthday. They have been apart for seven years. It is particularly special they are reunited. This year would have been their 30th anniversary.”
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