I have been thinking of Barry Jarman a lot since his passing in July.
Barry was one of my first great friends. He changed my life forever. After a period of not going to school and living with my grandparents to avoid foster care, I ended up at a special school. It was here I met Barry. I wasn’t fond of school work, but developed a great love for woodwork and arranging the sports equipment. I loved it.
My brother and I visited the Adelaide sports store, Rowe and Jarman one day. I fell in love with it immediately and from that day on I visited everyday.
Barry kindly agreed to come to my school and umpire a game I had arranged. He arrived with a kit of new gear for the school but was shocked to learn we had all the gear! My teacher Mr Burchett explained I had repaired all the gear myself. Six weeks later, I was working for Rowe and Jarman. My mother and Mr Burchett had arranged that I was able to leave school to go and work at the store.
It was here my life really began and I felt purposeful. Barry Jarman and David Rowe looked after me very well. It was an unbelievable time. Many Test players would come in and spend time in the shop. I would go in at 7.00am and come home at 8.00pm, it was a very happy time for me.
Wally Grout would come in, tell amazing stories with a smoke and a drink in his hand. Richie Benaud, Alan McGilvray and others would come in after work and tell stories. Once Barry asked me to go and visit Sir Don Bradman at his office, I thought I was going to meet God!
Barry was always so generous. When there was a Test in Adelaide he arranged that I could be there everyday. He also arranged for me to bowl to the touring teams during their visit for Tests or the Sheffield Shield. What a life!
Barry introduced me to Len Newbery in 1965. Len was the CEO of Gray-Nicolls at the time. This was to be the start of a new chapter in my life. In 1970, Barry sent me to England to learn more about the bat industry. I had other ideas, thinking I wanted to play first class cricket! That lasted about four weeks. Len Newbery called me into his office to tell me that it wasn’t going to happen. Len told me, if I stayed and learnt my life would change. He wasn’t wrong.
I thank Barry for giving me my first chance, for having faith in me and introducing me to people that would influence and encourage me in life. It’s this reason that I want to continue with the kindness I was shown and help the younger generation.
You were a great man Barry
Rest in Peace.