Remembering Barry Ward

It is with sadness that we share the news of the passing of Barry Ward who was General Secretary (CEO) at Lincoln YMCA in the 1970s to early 1980s.

Barry was a true advocate of the values that underpin our work to this day, and our thoughts and prayers are with Barry’s family and friends during this time.

The YMCA Community has come together to remember Barry. Read some fond memories below.

Words by Dean Bell

In 1984 I moved from Yorkshire to Lincoln to start a 6 months Youth Opportunity Scheme.  As a young lad with no religious back ground or upbringing I was a little taken aback to be introduced to Mr Barry Ward. He was a total cultural shock to me.  This man, I thought,  was always talking about “Jesus” and “The Kingdom”.  Barry was clearly at the helm of the ship and wanted to make the “C” in YMCA very prominent.

Barry had a big impact on my life, talking to me about Jesus. He encouraged me to go to Church and get involved in Christian activities.  Barry and Youth For Christ were instrumental in pulling together a large youth event on Lincolnshire Showground called Fresh Ground which ran for several years very successfully.  He was very visionary and innovative in spreading the word and work of the YMCA.  There was a genuineness and sincerity about Barry that I had never come across before. Barry was a father figure to me and made sure I stayed on the straight and narrow.

I think only eternity will tell of the impact  and influence that Barry and his lovely wife Dorothy have had.  I am immensely grateful to God that he guided my path to Barry’s door and he invested not only in me but lots of people during his time as General Secretary of Lincoln YMCA.  An true unsung hero of the faith!  Forever grateful.

Words by Canon David Smith

From 1986 to 1999 I was honoured to be the Regional Secretary and later Area Secretary of the enlarged Central region of YMCAs.

Barry was the CEO in Lincoln, a strong evangelical Christian who was very aware of the clear Christian Aims and Purposes of the Movement.   He was dedicated to the Association and determined to see it grow and prosper but through prayer and love.

And always at his side he had the unfailing support of his wife Dorothy.

Barry faced up to a number of the Association challenges of which his calm and capable nature saw him through.

He was always supportive of our quarterly Regional Fraternals and Central Region events and had a strong recognition of the history and dedication of the Ladies Auxiliary.

Over many years, he maintained a strong and loyal Board of Management which agreed with his vision for the Association; an Association which has served many folk through its young people’s housing and community activities in the greater Lincoln area, since its inception.

His legacy includes the number of staff and members that he personally has given time and support to over many years.

It was a great pleasure to work with Barry who through his personal journey with God impacted so many lives.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

Words by Pete Crosby

I started working in Lincoln in the September of 1984. Barry Ward was a great help to me in those early days, he put a lot of thought into the advice he offered and the people he introduced me to. Although terrifically busy both running and developing the YMCA he always found time to listen to my questions and, if he couldn’t offer an answer himself, he would point me to the right person to talk to.

We worked together on a project called Freshground. Here too he was a mine of knowledge. We didn’t always agree but we were always able to park the disagreements and get on with making the event happen. On those many occasions when I was wrong Barry was always too gracious to say, ‘I told you so’. On the few occasions when I was right he was always ready to acknowledge the fact.

Four years later when I was moving on to a new job Barry gave me a great deal of good advice about how to hand over to the new man. Advice I have remembered more than once in my subsequent career.

Words by Ray Allen

I moved to Lincoln YMCA from Barnard Castle YMCA in July 1978. I was very happy to come back to Lincolnshire, my home county.

Barry arrived in April 1979 and my Christian faith strengthened through him. He was a lovely man and easy to work with. Lincoln YMCA was very successful under Barry’s leadership. I was the live-in Warden and Barry and I worked very well together.

Under Barry’s guidance we formed a Youth Drama Workshop, and consequently performed several plays. We also performed children’s plays and a couple of pantomimes too.

One of the greatest events which Barry and John Hindmarsh, the Youth for Christ worker, along with the board and other church members organised, was the Christian festival, Freshground, held on Lincolnshire showground, for three years in the early 1980s. The name Freshground was the idea of Dorothy, Barry’s wife.

I will be constantly in Barry’s debt for furthering my Christian witness. He was a lovely man along with his wife Dorothy. Lincoln YMCA should be proud of his belief and the work he did.

Thank you Barry, may you rest in Peace and Rise in Glory.

Words by Alan Perkins

It was in the late 1970s when I first met Barry when he was the General Secretary of Lincoln YMCA. Barry was a great encourager and investor in people.

One day in the late 1980s Barry asked me to help with stewarding and transport for a new YMCA Youth for Christ event on the Lincolnshire Showground called “Freshground”. Freshground was where myself and my wife Rae first met. We have now been married for 20 years and are very grateful, without Freshground we may never have met.

Not long after this I went to Barry with an idea for a new venture for the homeless called The Nomad Trust. Through him I got the use of St Swithin’s Vestry Hall. Nomad continues to this day, becoming part of YMCA Lincolnshire a few years ago. Many see me as the founder of Nomad, which is true, but I could not have done it without Barry’s input, support and help.

Seeing something in me, he took risks and as a result not only has my life been enriched but also hundreds of others, without that support and encouragement that he gave me, none of the above would have happened and I would not be the person I am today.

In the words of a song by Paul Bell. “ Even though you have gone your love lives on.” (From the Album First Light)