Boxing Day tribute planned for legendary Scarborough musician Barry (Baz) Hampshire

The people of Scarborough are invited to join the Comic Band to remember Barry on the annual walk to the beach for the Fisherman and Firemen’s Football match.

By Louise Perrin
Friday, 24th December 2021, 2:39 pm
Updated Friday, 24th December 2021, 3:02 pm
Barry Hampshire leading the Comic Band
Barry Hampshire leading the Comic Band

A Boxing Day tribute has been planned for legendary Scarborough musician Barry (Baz) Hampshire who passed away peacefully on December 21 at the age of 85.

Barry Hampshire was born in Scarborough on July 24, 1936 and lived on Victoria Street until he met wife, Kate and the couple married on Valentine’s Day, 1959.

Son Chris arrived in 1960 and not long after, daughter Claire followed, in 1962.

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Barry (far right) was involved in a number of fundraisers

Saxophone player Barry was part of Jeff Laycock’s Big Band who played at the Candlelight Club which at the time was on the seafront, and later Huntriss Row.

Music was Barry’s life, he played in a number of bands and spent a lot of years in the house band at the Royal Hotel before founding Hamps Tramps in the 1980’s.

He began his working life in the printing department of the Scarborough Evening News, but being a bright lad, it wasn’t long before he seized an opportunity to become a reporter.

He spent his first year reporting from rural councils and would often recount a tale of one particular meeting where he reported verbatim what had been said by one of those present.

Raising a glass while raising money

At the next meeting, the gentleman concerned took exception to what had been written, but Barry was able to look back through his notes to repeat the exact words.

The response came: “Well next time he wants to print what I meant, and not what I said!”

After separating from wife Kate, Barry moved into the Flower-in-Hand with future long-time partner Jean Hobson.

The couple supported the miners during the miner’s strike by taking food to Sheffield in a converted hearse and they also arranged for free holidays for the miners and their families at the Flower-in-Hand.

Leading the march

“He had a very strong sense of justice and fair play,” said son, Chris.

Being a musician, Barry was often charged with doing the music reports for the paper.

One such instance was when Barry went to see David Bowie as part of the Ziggy Stardust Tour. Chris said: “The bouncers were notorious for smashing cameras at the time - so he didn’t take his - he took mine instead! But of course, it was fine.”

Barry also took time away from his busy music career to write a book about Little Richard with Charles White (aka Dr Rock), who said: “Barry was a lovely man and a great journalist.“He gave a lot of pleasure to a lot of people, he was a great bloke and people loved him.Chris said: “Later, in 1977, he and I did a trip around America. What a brilliant tour it was! Dad was always impressed by how open America was and how friendly the people were.

“Some time later, I said to him, I was far too young to appreciate that back then, and he replied: ‘Yes! So Was I!’” Chris said: “He was the most cheerful, happy man you could ever wish to meet.

“He charmed everyone who met him. He was genuinely one of the best.

“He was a fantastic dad and we had a lovely life. Like many musicians, he had quite an off the wall sense of humour.

“To me, he was a normal dad, it was only as I got a bit older that I realised he was something special.

“He was an all-round, lovely gem of a bloke. He was an absolute diamond.”

Barry’s funeral takes place at Scarborough Crematorium on January 14 at 12.00.

Chris said: “I really hope it’s not going to be a normal funeral. I’m hoping that some people will come along and play before it starts!

“The funeral will be followed by a celebration of Barry’s lovely, excellent life from 1pm at the Tap and Spile.”

The people of Scarborough are invited to remember Barry by joining the Comic Band on the annual march to the beach for the Fisherman and Firemen’s Football match.

A Facebook event page has been set up which reads: “In addition to being a mentor and inspiration for a huge amount of Scarborough Musicians, for many years Baz was involved in the seafront Boxing Day celebrations.

“Come and join the Comic Band in the march down to the beach this year.

“Meet at 10am sharp outside Heron, 71 Newborough, Scarborough YO11 1ET.

“Wear something garish/bright and bring an instrument, bell, drum kazoo or a voice.

“Let's do it for Baz folks!”