Barry Maunder Day
On a trip back to the UK from Germany, to work on a film project, I visited our old neighbour, Hersey, in Bath. She asked me if I had heard about Barry, who lived across the street. Barry Maunder was transport manager for the Environment Centre in Bath (then’Evolve’). There, he was instrumental in setting up Car-Free Day. This was taken up all over Europe but soon dwindled in the UK.
Hersey explained that funding for Barry’s job at Evolve had been cut. I thought this strange, since he was the Transport Manager, arguably the most vital role within that organisation. Having said that, Barry was not always popular, since he regularly stood-up to local traders, who were often unable to see beyond the bonnets of their customer’s vehicles. So I had my suspicions as to why he, in particular, had been seen as dispensable.
Hersey then explained that Barry had become very ill, after losing his job, and then died. This was, naturally, a huge shock. As far as I had been aware, he was fit and well the last time I had seen him, only a year or so previously.
Barry lived for his work and was a tireless campaigner, during a period in which there was a lot of apathy and indifference towards environmental concerns. Could it be that, now Barry’s purpose had been taken away from him, he had somehow lost the will to live? Or was it just a cruel coincidence?
Whatever the cause and effect, I wondered whether we could reinvigorate car-free day in Barry’s name. This being a time before Social Media, my efforts to whip-up support for the idea, once back in Germany, didn’t get very far. But I did write a song…