Police probe vicar's death

PUBLISHED: 07:06 13 July 2006 | UPDATED: 09:35 24 May 2010

Barry pictured in 2004 with Charlie the donkey and young choir members at the Palm Sunday service at St John's.

Barry pictured in 2004 with Charlie the donkey and young choir members at the Palm Sunday service at St John's.

WESTON'S best known and much loved clergyman Barry Irons has been found dead in his seafront home. The 67-year-old, who dedicated over 40 years of his life to the church, was

WESTON'S best known and much loved clergyman Barry Irons has been found dead in his seafront home.The 67-year-old, who dedicated over 40 years of his life to the church, was discovered in his Beach Court flat on June 30. Two days before he was found, Reverend Irons spent the night in police cells after being arrested for suspected drink driving in front of the Grand Pier. It is believed police have a duty to investigate his death because he had not long been released from custody.The funeral of Reverend Barry Irons was held on Wednesday at All Saints Church.A close friend said: "Barry was ill and we think he was suffering from cancer. "He was getting to a stage where he didn't want to be a burden to anybody or let anyone down. "He was still thinking of other people right up to the end and trying to take away any hurt."Barry wasn't a saint, he was human, but he was a very good man and did a great deal for Weston."During his life Rev Irons was the mayor's chaplain several times as well chaplain for the women's section of the Royal British Legion, the Burma Star Association and The Playhouse. In 2004 he retired after 10 years as rector at St John the Baptist Church in Lower Church Road.On his retirement he told the Weston Mercury: "I think when God sent me to Weston he had a smile on his face."During his life, Rev Irons travelled the world to leper colonies in India and countries like Uganda to stand up for those less fortunate. He spent three years in the USA helping a Sioux Native American tribe fight for its culture and language and was eventually made a blood brother. He was called Chief Running Horse.He also set up a hostel for drug addicts and the homeless.Fond memories from friends in Weston start with his first sermon at St John's Church when he told everyone they were unique and each had something special to offer.Rev Irons' friend added: "Bishop Richard Lewis, who installed him, told the congregation nobody would be the same after having him as leader. That was true."I remember a service he gave to the Burma Star Association which was so moving everyone stood up and applauded. I'd never seen anything like it before or since."Barry loved to make people laugh as well. During a meeting at Grove House he decided everyone should go to Papas in Waterloo Street for fish and chips. "Discovering the restaurant closed he banged on the door and the owners reopened, fired up the ovens and made us all dinner."Barry's favourite venue for evenings out was the Captain's Cabin in Birnbeck Road, where he always sat at the same table, calling it his 'pulpit'.The pub was the first place the former Church Army member visited when he arrived in Weston.He requested that his ashes be scattered below the pub from the RNLI lifeboat that he blessed when it first arrived in Weston.Rev Irons made his own funeral plans about eight years ago, which include being cremated in his church robes.Hymns for the service included Praise to the Holiest in the Height, Christ Enthroned in Highest Heaven, All For Jesus and Love Divine All Loves Excelling.Rev Irons' friend said: "He spent a lot of time on the streets helping less fortunate people. "Some people misconstrued his actions but his aim in life was to make other people's lives better. He suffered many a hurt in his ministry at the hands of some who he had trusted but he always forgave their faults, being well aware of his own.

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