Real lives: ‘Forthright’ Eric Barr dies aged 80

Eric Barr was admired for business and sporting prowess. Picture: Contributed

Eric Barr was admired for business and sporting prowess. Picture: Contributed

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TRIBUTES have been paid to businessman and former cricketer Eric Barr, who has died at the age of 80.

Eric was a well-known and respected figure in Leith and an eminent person within the Scottish printing community.

In his youth he was an outstanding sportsman, particularly in cricket where he played for the East League championship-winning Melville College FP sides of the late 50s and early 60s along with his brother Douglas. An ex-captain of the club, he was the top run scorer five times.

Eric, who also played for the Grange, was a guest player for many a pub side, with some of his peers describing him as the best batsman never to get a Scotland cap. He was also an 1st XV rugby player with Melville College FP.

He was born in Wardie to Charlie and Ethel Barr and brought up in Leith. His father, who owned a pie factory in Trafalgar Lane, was keen on cricket and encouraged his sons to take up the sport.

Melville College was chosen for Eric’s education due to its reputation in the sport.

Eric, who married Ann at Wardie Church in Trinity in 1956, had a newsagent shop in Pilrig before he went on to run a printing business in Dock Place.

He was affectionately known by suppliers and customers alike as “Pecky Barr” of Barr printers.

Spanning a career of more than 50 years in printing, Eric was described as one of the industry’s more “colourful” characters.

Retiring at the age of 72, Eric lived most of his life in Trinity.

He was a keen gardener and enjoyed spending time at a holiday property in Melrose.

He was a father of four, grandfather of ten and great-grandfather of three.

Daughter Susan Crombie said: “My dad was a busy man and very fit and active. He was a very generous to those he worked with and a very generous and supportive father.”

His friend Frank Chalmers said: “His forthright business views and strong opinions left many unsuspecting supplier shaking in their boots after only a telephone encounter with Eric.

“The mere mention of his name put paper suppliers on red alert and struck fear into the hearts of their well-meaning staff who merely wanted to tell Eric the slightest bit of news regarding a wrong delivery or – god help them – a price increase.”

Mr Chalmers added: “As a businessman, Eric was as keen to see his suppliers do as well with deals as he was to see his own business succeed.

“His integrity and honour through the highs and lows of his career won him many admirers in the business community.

“Eric was a humble, considerate man, not one to shout from the rooftops about any personal success he had achieved, preferring to be quiet in the background.”