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Barry May - bravery, integrity and determination

I knew Barry May for many years at Reuters although we only overlapped in assignments once, when he was Gulf Bureau Chief. In later years, I remember him as Peter Gregson says, always elegant and invariably wearing a blue suit with pocket handkerchief. He was very gregarious, as his many post-retirement interests showed, and had an infectious, hearty laugh.

We cooperated several times over the years for articles on The Baron, and he provided always sage and considered advice. In the past he had occasionally suffered abuse from people who did not like what he was publishing but he always remained sanguine, and this was reflected in his judgement about what appeared on The Baron. He had the unquestionable integrity of a good editor and would not be intimidated.

I was not one of Barry’s tight circle of trusted friends in the past but we became much closer after I agreed to take over the editorship quite recently.

It was only then that I realised just how much effort he put into his pride and joy. This was a major daily commitment, which continued when he was away in Penang for his annual break there, where he had to use an internet café because he did not have good enough Wi-Fi in his holiday home.

I already had huge respect for the invaluable fruit of all this toil, a worldwide community of former Reuters people who had a lasting bond from their time at the agency, but who had no proper way, before the creation of The Baron, of communicating or keeping in touch with events related to Reuters.

I went to his home several times in the last few months to try to learn the complicated and somewhat impenetrable filing system that he reminded me he had to operate from scratch by himself after he commissioned it from a software company.

I got to know him much better in these sessions, and my respect was enormously increased by the quite extraordinary bravery and determination he showed, even while suffering from the effects of his illness, to ensure his legacy lived on after him.

RIP Barry May, Founder Editor of The Baron  ■