On the advice of his sergeant major, Barry Dressekie and his flagship ponytail arrived in the United Kingdom in the 1960’s to escape a hardened life in the British Jamaican army. Ever the rebel, he didn’t take the advice immediately - choosing first to return to Kingston, where he took over a shop, had an affair with the married woman next door, and met the woman who he would later call his wife.
At the age of 24, he hopped on a plane to Canada, and later on a boat to London - where he lived, for a short while, in a coal cellar in his sister’s Highbury home. Along with him came his then-girlfriend, whom he later married, and a friend of hers. "She left her best friend with me while she [would] go to work…." "She [was] carrying my first boy and erm she gone and left this beautiful woman who is also a nurse from Jamaica and left her with me in the flat and that was disaster… disaster!”
Eventually, he set up a string of mechanics shops in London, and fathered seven children along the way. "I'm an open book" he told us, saying he had "nothing undercover. “Wide open man.. No secrets!” But he is reticent about the death of his eighth child, Paul, who had a history of drug abuse and mental health trouble. "The time I lost my temper with Paul, twice… and I shouldn't have done. And thats still hurting.”
Barry passed away on the 11th of August 2018. You may not know Barry intimately, but know this: his vibrant presence touched so many lives that the church that hosted his funeral was too small to hold the number of people that came along to pay their respects.