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.
Dad was a very modest and hard-working man. He was completely selfless and always put others first. He was dedicated to his family who are incredibly proud of him. We have been overwhelmed by the comments and good wishes since he died. We probably weren't aware of how much he was loved and respected outside of our family, which sums up the kind of modest man he was. He wasn't one to blow his own trumpet, he just did his best at everything."
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 Barrett was a very talented producer, but more important than that, he was a dear friend. We worked alongside each other for many years when he moved into television after a distinguished career in journalism. He prided himself on being a year younger than me - and always winning our football bets!
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.
I started my career at ITV Meridian's Newbury studios in August 2000 and remember very clearly meeting Chris for the first time. He’d been sent from the mothership, Meridian HQ in Northam near Southampton, to train this young Production Journalist on how to produce the late news. First things first, we got the teas in and then he proceeded to say: 'This job is 10% journalism and 90% plagiarism!' "In the years that followed he became a really good friend who really supported me as a Reporter and Presenter. If my volume ever dropped in the newsroom he’d always check on me with 'You ok Sangers?!' And he’d always make sure Fred and I always had time to inject our own personalities into the show. He was a gentle giant, who loved his family, his epic walks and his dog. I can’t believe I won’t see that beaming cheeky smile again. Sending so much love to Chris’s family. Miss you Mr B x"
So many messages have come into us from people who used to work with Chris and they can't speak highly enough of him. He was a fantastic producer and where possible would always ensure that the programmes he produced had uplifting stories in them, giving our viewers something to smile about. He was a real character, a true gentleman and a dear friend and colleague. We will all miss him very very much."
Chris was a kind and thoughtful man who despite the pressures of producing programmes and bulletins always found time to make you smile. He’ll be greatly missed."
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.