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ENTRA, short for Ewanrigg and Netherton Tenant’s and Resident’s Association, is a group of volunteers prepared to give up their time own to make the estate a happier and safer place to live. An earlier version existed over fifty years but had lain dormant for some time until, inspired by Colette Small of Home Group, local residents called a general meeting and the new version was born in July 2010. Supported by funding from Awards for All, Cumbria Community Foundation, Neighbourhood Forum and other smaller funders together with the continued support of Home Group, ENTRA’s success has been amazing.

Several awards and taking on the lease of the community centre from Home have established ENTRA as a leading community group in the area and enabled them to create activities and organise events for all ages.

A relationship formed with Rosehill Theatre through their On the Road programme has seen international artists such as classical pianist Phillip Dyson and Scottish tenor Nicky Spence perform in the centre and actress Julie Hesomondhaigh, better known as Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street, performed the Royal Exchange play “Black Roses” to a sell out audience.

Many other community organisations including MIND, Age UK, the WEA, Arts out West and CAB have also taken advantage of ENTRA’s ability to bring large groups of residents together in the centre to promote their services.

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Computer Club – Friday 8 June 2018

8th June 2018
          After another scrumptious breakfast the group get to work.
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A eulogy to the wonderful Bill Barnes....On behalf of the Ewanrigg Local Trust we would like to thank everyone who contributed to a wonderful send off for the much loved and missed Bill Barnes this Monday. For those who couldn’t attend the ceremony what follows is the beautifully written eulogy written by the inimitable Viv Patterson. If you haven’t yet and would like to please comment below and we will copy all comments into a book for Bill’s family.

I was honoured to be asked to speak here today but some of you may wonder why I am and, by the way, who I am.

I am the local reporter for the Times & Star newspaper. Bill was a contact who became a friend.

In fact, as a contact and a friend he was both wonderful and invaluable. On two occasions I was faced with a blank front page for the Maryport edition of the paper. On one of these occasions – and with only a couple of hours to go – I rushed out an article about Maryport’s health campaigner who was being let down by the system because he couldn’t get his cataracts done. I emailed him asking: “Did you say this?” “Of course,” was the quick reply and my editor congratulated me on a wonderful human interest story and being able to get Bill to talk to me!

I can’t tell you too much about the next occasion.
Let’s just say that he never would confirm or deny that he had anything to do with one of the town’s largest fires at the SIS factory!

That’s what Bill was to me and to everyone of you here he means something different and something the same because I am sure to everyone of us he was a man who was kind, helpful and generous.

We have to thank his family – Sharon, his wife, his daughter Gillian, his brother Gordon, his grandchildren and great grandchildren for sharing him with us.

Bill was born in Siddick in 1938 and would have been 82 next month. His parents were Henrietta and William Calvert Barnes. He was the second of four children, with sisters Jean and Audrey and his brother Gordon.
He went to Siddick school but then the pupils were moved to Northside where Gordon remembers that there was a fight most days - Siddick kids weren’t welcome!

He attended Workington Grammar School where he was headhunted by the Maryport Urban Authority to train as a draughtsman. He moved to Maryport at 17 and remained there for the rest of his life. When Allerdale borough council was formed in 1974 he was moved into the organisation’s planning department.

Eventually growing disenchanted with his job he opened his own building company offering a full range of services: drawing plans, getting planning permission, even sourcing any grants that might be available and building the finished product.

By this time his second wife, Sharon, was on the scene - the result of a wager between him and a friend. The pair were having dinner at Cheers in Cockermouth, a restaurant partly owned by Bill. When they saw Sharon, who was working there they actually bet who could take her out to dinner. Bill won more than a dinner date and the couple were married for 33 years.

By the time he retired from the building business, Sharon was running Barney’s Cafe, which would later become Curzon Grill. His story was that he helped run the business. His grandchildren tell a different story of him making messes and stopping to sit with them to watch Countdown and 15 to 1.

Those were the facts but who was the man?

Gillian remembers a father who was always busy - even if he didn’t always complete things. “He started building a boat in the backyard. It never sailed but it was my camp.” she recalls.
She and his grandchildren, Lee, Jade and Cameron remember a man who always encouraged them; who never had a negative word; who was interested in all they did.

Sharon, too, found a man who supported her, as she did him.
Not that he didn’t try and get rid of her on occasions. They were on the shore with the dog one day. Preparing to go home, Sharon put the dog in the back seat and then watched in astonishment as Bill drove off. He carried on a one-sided conversation all the way to the betting shop. Luckily he didn’t have any money and it was only when he turned to borrow some that he realised she had not got into the car with the dog, as he thought. She was still standing on the shore! “I thought you were being very quiet,” he told her.

Sharon wasn't the only thing he misplaced and the family soon learned that his favourite hiding place was the car roof. Fresh vegetables were accidentally carried to Crosby that way - and it is a tribute to his driving that they neither fell off or got damaged.

Then there was the mobile phone! He had been fishing and lost it. The couple returned to his fishing place to find another couple obviously having a good time by the way their vehicle was rocking. They kept calling Bill’s phone but while they - and surely the disconcerted lovers – could hear it ring they couldn’t find it. Of course, it was on the car roof!

He loved golf and fishing and played darts at county level - all part of the man whose zest for life was so amazing.

He would come and see me on a Tuesday morning to tell me about the best film, the best concert, the best play, even the best stay in hospital......sometimes he could hardly breathe but still his enthusiasm never dimmed.

That is why it was so distressing, in recent weeks, when, during a phone call, he talked about his anxiety and his feeling that he would not get better. That just wasn’t Bill.

Everywhere I have gone in this last week people have stopped me, either to make sure I knew of Bill’s death or to tell me what they thought about him.

Bill touched hundreds. He mobilised a whole town when he headed up the Save Our Beds Campaign. He didn’t win that fight but our former Workington MP Sue Hayman said last week that Maryport would not have had the modern services it now has without him.

Bill belongs to the people of Ewanrigg. He and Sharon resurrected the tenant and residents association and turned a little-used centre into a thriving, busy community hub with the emphasis on the word community. I wouldn’t attempt to guess how many meals had been served, holidays and trips undertaken and I certainly couldn’t even begin to measure the happiness and laughter that has emanated from the building.

I have personally spoken to people who admitted they never left their homes but were unable to escape the clutches of Bill Barnes and became active members of Entra. They were just caught up in the man who was Bill. He struggled with his lungs but he never gave up on life.

In fact, he ensured that other people did not give up too, founding the West Cumbria branch of Breathe Easy for people with lung problems. He was chairman of that group for over 10 years. And as I said previously, he was enthusiasm with a capital E. He loved life and appreciated everything that he saw, heard, ate or did. He was simply amazing.

The arrival of the Ewanrigg Local Trust certainly didn’t hurt but, if we are giving credit, then the one person who has helped him achieve everything he did was Sharon.

She posted a poignant picture on Facebook this week describing Bill as “my world.”

Sharon, you were his too - and I can’t tell you how many hours I have had to sit in my office listening to him sing your praises.

Christopher Robin, comforting Winnie the Pooh said: If ever there is a tomorrow when we are not together you must always remember ... You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we are apart, I will always be with you.

And whether you were family, friends or just a reporter needing a story, Bill will always be with us because he will live forever through his work in the community and certainly in our memories.

And finally now, in the words of his granddaughter Jade, it is time to say: Good night Mr Maryport.
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