The tragedy of Richard Barker’s death is devastating for his immediate family and those especially close to him, but will also hit the wider world of dogs very hard indeed. Richard was not just well known as an award winning, talented and experienced groomer and exhibitor but was universally admired and liked by all those who knew him and regarded him as a friend - and that circle numbers many hundreds.
With his family, Richard was a key element of a dynasty in the making: his adored wife, Linda, is herself an exceptionally talented groomer, breeder and exhibitor and the daughter of Standard Poodle breeders, Joyce and Steve Baker. With their two young children, James and Fenella being brought up with and surrounded by dogs, the future of the Crystalar prefix appeared assured until last Tuesday when, under extreme financial and social pressures, Richard felt so depressed he took the decision to end his life.
Richard’s dedication to dogs was immense. He was active in the politics and management of the world of dog grooming. He served on the board of the Pet Care Trust/British Grooming Association for a short while and was greatly missed when the pressures of his developing business forced him to resign. More importantly he had, with Linda, created the very successful grooming section of the Young Kennel Club and its associated competitions which, since their establishment, they continued to organise and support - most recently at Discover Dogs.
Richard was a softly spoken, thoughtful and extremely intelligent man with a gentle sense of humour and great enthusiasm for everything he did. Many turned to him help and advice (I did myself on several occasions) and he was always generous with his time, being much more than just a listener and always able to make thoughtful and considered suggestions which were helpful, positive and to the point.
Richard was devoted to his family and adored both Linda and his two young children: that this tragedy occurred will ever remain a mystery for there was no note or other explanation so we can never know why Richard felt this was decision he had to make. Nevertheless, he will always be remembered a man who attained considerable personal distinction and achieved much and in his regrettably all too short life.
Richard’s funeral will be held at Leatherhead Crematorium at 12.30 on Monday 29th December. Those attending are invited to the home of Richard’s parents at 36, The Green, Ewell, Epson, KT17 3JJ after the service. The family have requested no flowers from friends but donations to the Trust Fund which has been set up for James and Fenella will be greatly welcomed. Donations may be made and cheques (made out James and Fenella Trust Fund) may be sent c/o of Alex James Funeral Directors, 92, Station Road East, Oxted, RH8 0QA (Tel: 01883 730 383)
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Learnt the tragic news today when i went to make an appointment for my westie "wilf" to have a haircut,i am absolutely stunned and extremely upset to hear what has happened.Richard was a very special person who was loved by people and doggies alike,my westie always knew where he was going when we went to the village and couldnt wait to be in with Richard and would happily stay all day if he could .On the 5th nov 08 i had a car accident outside Barkers on route to collect Wilf from Richard,he was wonderful looking after my dog for a lot longer than usual,offering me tea and sympathy,i shall never forget that.I had to send my heartfelt sorrow to his young family and hope they may gain a tiny comfort from peoples thoughts of Richard as a great bloke.28 Jan 09
I was so shocked and deeply moved to discover today that Richard had died. I cannot imagine to grief Linda, the children and the rest of his family and friends must be experiencing and can only hope that time will make this more bearable.
Richard was such a memorable man for many many reasons and I feel priveleged to have known him and laughed with him on so many occassions.
He was also responsible for finding us the most remarkable rescue dog after one of ours had passed away.
Linda, please accept my sincere and heartfelt condolences. At times like these words are so inadequate.
23 Jan 2009
I have only just learned of the tragic death of Richard and I am truly shaken. It was most bizarre that I had thought a few days ago that I must stop by and say hello to Richard and how much I missed seeing him as he had been the one and only groomer for our beloved Champers, a Tibetan Terrier, for almost 12 years. When my husband and I were in such despair about a beautiful dog with a lot of care needed, short hair to us seemed the answer. Richard flatly refused to cut her...advising that if we let her grow to "full coat" we would find not only a more beautiful coat but far less care later and much better results for years to come. Well, he was right...and she was truly beautiful...always garnering adoring looks from all who saw her...and she loved going to Richard's for her grooming. He took the time and had the patience to explain everything. He also took on our pain when she had injuries and was later diagnosed with diabetes and became blind. He was so loving and caring with her and we were grateful. When she died, one of the hardest calls I had to make was to Richard...to cancel the prized appointment on Christmas Eve morning for that year. I could feel his heartbreak on the phone...and later when I was in the village of Ewell, suddenly Richard was there...he had come running from the shop with a warm and comforting hug with tears in his eyes.
We will never forget him, an exceptionally warm and caring man and we do hope that his family will accept and feel our deepest sympathy and will find some solace in the passing of time.
I am devastated to hear the news of Richards death, he was a friend to me and many others in the YKC and an ardent advocate of educating YKC members on how to better care for their dogs. I will always remember him as a knowledgeable and patient tutor, a larger than life character, and a friend who will be sorely missed. My deepest sympathies to Linda, James and Fenella at this terrible time.
I cannot believe what fate made me try to find a web page for 'Barkers', only to read the terrible news of Richard's death. Both Linda and Richard clipped my two standard poodles, Blue and Oscar until my move to Wales. I will always remember the immense friendship shown never failing to help me when I needed advice. Please Linda accept my deepest sympathy to you and all your family, there are no other words that can express the shock I feel for you - you also have another little one since I last saw you. Sincere regards Sue Dale (I hope you will remember me).
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