‘He was a gentle giant’

The heartbroken wife of a security guard who died of cancer has paid tribute to her “gentle giant”. Barry Carr was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 11 months ago after suffering from stomach pain. The 67-year-old’s illness was terminal and he passed away at his home in South Shields[1], South Tyneside[2], on January 3.

His wife Louise, 39, who refers to her late partner as ‘Baz’, said she has been inundated with cards, flowers and messages since his death earlier this month. The mum-of-two said: “Just about everyone that met him loved him. “He was kind and he was caring.

He was a gentle giant. He was soft and he would do anything for anyone. I think he was so popular because of his humour, he was nice to everyone.

“It doesn’t feel real to me at all. I’m expecting him to walk in the door one day and say ‘What’s wrong with your face?’ But he’s not here and he’s not coming back.”

Barry Carr and his wife LouiseBarry Carr and his wife Louise

Louise said that she got together with Barry, who worked as a security guard, 18 years ago. She said they tied the knot in 2010 and he was a devoted dad to her children Callum, 21, and Jessica, 20.

Barry enjoyed karate, shooting and shopping, and was a huge Sunderland[3] fan. He had a season ticket at the Stadium of Light[4] and would try to attend as many away games as he could. Louise said: “He loved going on the away bus.

His favourite thing, when he went on the bus, was to offer people spam and piccalilli sandwiches – I think he only took them so he didn’t have to share them!”

Barry Carr with Callum and JessicaBarry Carr with Callum and Jessica

Barry was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February last year after suffering from pain in his stomach. Louise said: She said: “He was back and forward to the doctors. They thought it was acid as they couldn’t feel anything.

They tried him on different medications. One day the pain was so bad he said ‘Will you drop me off at A&E?’ “When he went to A&E they could see on his records that he had been back and forward to the doctor and they did a CT scan.

I got a phone call from him saying ‘You have to come to the hospital, they won’t tell me what’s wrong until you’re here’. “We found out he had pancreatic cancer. They said it wasn’t operable as it was attached to a main blood vessel.

They said that, with treatment, he was looking at about 13 months. “It was heartbreaking to hear that. We just broke down in tears.

It took a long time for us both to get our heads around it.”

Barry Carr passed away on January 3 this yearBarry Carr passed away on January 3 this year

Louise said that, once Barry had come to terms with his diagnosis, he started to plan his own funeral. She said this was so she wouldn’t be left to make all the plans after his death. She said: “At first, he was in denial about it.

I don’t think he grasped what was going on and how serious it was. But then I managed to get him to go to Cancer Connections and he started seeing a councillor there. I think that’s when he started to really come to terms with what was going to happen.

“He also had a goal. He was a Freemason and he wanted to make it into the chair, to become the master. He did that in November and he was absolutely buzzing.

I was so proud of him.”

Louise and Barry CarrLouise and Barry Carr

Louise said they were able to spend one last Christmas Day with Barry before his health started to deteriorate on Boxing Day. She said: “It was crazy because on Christmas[5] Day he was alright. He was opening his presents and he asked to watch Uncle Buck so we watched Uncle Buck.

“On Boxing Day, he went downhill. We got told he wouldn’t get out of bed from then on. That was a massive shock because the day before he was absolutely fine.

On the Friday before Christmas he was out shopping in The Bridges. “He died at home, that’s where he wanted to be. I promised him that he would stay at home and that’s exactly what he did.”

Barry’s funeral will take place at South Shields Crematorium in South Shields at 12.30pm on January 25. Anyone is welcome to attend.

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  1. ^ South Shields (www.chroniclelive.co.uk)
  2. ^ South Tyneside (www.chroniclelive.co.uk)
  3. ^ Sunderland (www.chroniclelive.co.uk)
  4. ^ Stadium of Light (www.chroniclelive.co.uk)
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