The life of Michael Frederick Barnes, a former Haslemere mayor honoured by the Queen for services to charity, has been celebrated after his death last month.
Michael was a “larger than life character”, said his wife Sarah, speaking after her husband’s funeral on August 17. “He was so positive, he would just light up a room.”
Michael was best known for his ability to raise charitable funds. It is estimated that he collected a third of a million pounds for several charities and he was instrumental in raising significant funds for the Poppy Appeal.
As a fitting tribute at midday on the day of his funeral a group of his friends placed a poppy wreath on the town’s war memorial as a tribute to his sterling efforts. Those in attendance included several former town mayors.
Michael moved to Haslemere in 1957, a town which he loved so much he decided to join the Haslemere Society Committee, and was elected to the town council and became mayor in 2001.
Music In and Around Haslemere and The Haslemere Guide were two of Michael’s special and highly successful publications on which he worked tirelessly.
At 80, Michael was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours and awarded a British Empire Medal for his services to charity fundraising and the community.
He was recognised for his work in the installation of CCTV cameras in the town centre; provision of disabled toilet facilities in the Town Hall; a skateboard centre for young people; renovation of the War Memorial and the installation of a bronze bust of Queen Elizabeth I at the Charter Walk.
Martin Kennedy, Michael’s nephew, delivered the eulogy and said: “If Michael made up his mind to do something he was unstoppable. Everything was possible and Michael made sure it would happen.
“He led a charmed life, and was so kind, generous, loyal, optimistic, loving, and incorrigible. He was always supported by Sarah. We will all miss you Michael.”