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‘A true gentleman’ − tributes to ex-EADT managing director Barry Rackham

PUBLISHED: 23:57 21 January 2020 | UPDATED: 23:58 21 January 2020

Barry Rackham with son Richard and daughter Jane at the Sidegate Lane Primary School library dedicated to his late wife Mary   

Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Barry Rackham with son Richard and daughter Jane at the Sidegate Lane Primary School library dedicated to his late wife Mary Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

‘Quietly spoken, he had such a dry sense of humour... They do not seem to make people like Barry anymore’

A former managing director of the East Anglian Daily Times company has died at the age of 83.

Barry Rackham, born in 1936, had in recent times been cared for at Cornwallis Court, the home in Bury St Edmunds run by the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution.

Son Richard says: "He had been living bravely with a rare condition called Progressive Supra-nuclear Palsy (PSP) which affects the sufferer's physical capabilities.

"Mobility, balance, dexterity, speech and sight deteriorate over several years; a very cruel disease and one which was first formally diagnosed in the comic and pianist, Dudley Moore."

Barry had worked his way up the career ladder at Lower Brook Street to reach the highest rung. He also became a board member of Eastern Counties Newspapers group - the publisher of newspapers and magazines in Suffolk, Norfolk and beyond that later was renamed Archant.

He led the EADT and Evening Star through prosperous years and during the era when dramatic technological advances saw computerisation change the way newspapers were produced.

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People who worked with him talk of his honesty, loyalty and sense of trust. Other comments include "a true gentleman" and "Quietly spoken, he had such a dry sense of humour... They do not seem to make people like Barry anymore..."

Barry met his hugely-supportive wife-to-be, Mary, at a church social club when she was 15 and he was 17. They married on June 3, 1961, at Holy Trinity Church, Ipswich.

The couple had two children: Richard (who would become an EADT photographer, writer and sub-editor) and Jane. They went to the primary school opposite their long-time home in Sidegate Lane, Ipswich.

Mary became a governor of that primary school - a position she held for 30 years, including a decade as chairman of governors.

Barry served as a magistrate, was involved deeply in freemasonry in Suffolk, and was part of the Rotary movement. He was also a keen golfer.

After leaving Eastern Counties Newspapers he worked as technical director for another newspaper group and in the early 1990s was a director of a number of related media companies.

Sadly, Mary was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2007 and died the following year, aged 69.

Her husband, who had three grandchildren, has been described as "A very genuine man who cared for his colleagues and would always ask how you were".

Another former colleague says Barry "always had a smile on his face and time to chat. He is the reason that most of us had such a good experience working at the EADT. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him".


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