A tribute to much-loved ITV Meridian colleague Chris Barrett

ITV News Meridian would like to pay tribute to a much-loved colleague, Chris Barrett.

Chris, 75, started at Meridian in the 1990s and was an extremely popular programme producer.

He lived in Dibden Purlieu in Hampshire with his wife, Gwen.

He leaves two daughters, Emma and Linda, and five grandchildren, Amy, Charlotte, Jack, Caitlin and Ella.

Chris joined his local paper, the Alton Herald, straight from school. He grew up in nearby Four Marks.

He spent a short time working freelance before moving to Devon in 1967 to take up a job on the South Devon Journal. He was based in Torquay, predominantly covering the Newton Abbot area which is where he met his future wife, Gwen.

They married in June 1969. Emma was born in 1970 and Linda in 1971.

The family moved to Dibden Purlieu in 1971 when Chris joined the Southern Daily Echo as a Chief Sub, later becoming Deputy Editor. He left in 1990, working freelance for BBC South and writing columns including "Did You See" and "A Day in the Life" for Hampshire Life magazine.

It was around this time that he became part of the Meridian family.

Chris in his younger years with daughter Linda.

Chris always loved a story that brought a bit of humour or good cheer to people's lives, whether in print or on the screen.

He used to pride himself on trying to finish his bulletins with a happy story to leave viewers in good spirits. He enjoyed a joke, and loved to sing (loudly).

Although he later retired, Chris never actually seemed to stop working.

Chris became a volunteer at the New Forest Reptile Centre for a couple of years as he loved nature and wildlife.

He was also an avid walker, he knew the New Forest very well and walked there most days, on his own and also regularly with his daughters and his grandchildren.

He took about two years to walk the South West Coast Path, completing it in stages ranging from one to seven days. He walked the majority of it alone, but was joined at various times by close friends, his daughters, and one of his granddaughters. He completed the route on October 19th 2019, which was one of his proudest achievements.

Chris taught many of us so much, always with patience and encouragement.

He loved a cheery programme, a crossword and a builder’s tea.

Chris, you will be greatly missed.