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Barry May - a nose for news and determination to hunt it down

Barry May and I first met as spotty-faced teenagers working on two rival West London newspapers. Happily, the rivalry  was minimal and we quickly settled down to having a whale of a time.

Nipping around Richmond and Twickenham in a turquoise Mini covered with all the go-faster stickers you could buy for 10 bob, Barry had a news nose and the single-minded ability to chase down a good story until it was actually set in type. And it was clearly written, too.

But he loved the quickfire humour which always rattled through any gathering of more than a couple of young hacks. One of my earliest memories is of the pair of us collapsing in a giggling heap and being told to behave by by an older chap who believed we were ruining his drink. Now it’s my turn to administer the saloon bar bollockings.

Barry was crazy about music and we were lucky to have at least a dozen clubs in our area in the early sixties, catering for all the genres of the age. I was, and still am, a huge Stones fan, but it was Barry who helped to put them on the map when they began to play at our local clubs.

In his biography of the group, the Stones’ bassist Bill Wyman wrote of their pride when a report by Barry May appeared in the Richmond and Twickenham Times on April 13, 1963. Barry’s rave review concluded: "The Stones will go on rollin."

After our local apprenticeships I followed Barry first to the Associated Press and then to Reuters, where we both put in 30 plus years. There was never such fun to be had in these pompous surroundings, but for the rest of his life Barry was always up for a bloody good giggle. I know this because we last shared one only about six months ago.