Wigan-born songwriter's partner shares delight at birthday celebrations

The partner of an iconic musician said he would have been thrilled to be remembered in his hometown.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 3:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th July 2021, 3:32 pm
Barry Mason MBE and Vanessa Martin
Barry Mason MBE and Vanessa Martin

Wigan Council showed a film about Barry Mason MBE, who co-wrote Sir Tom Jones’ smash hit Delilah alongside thousands of other songs, at The Fire Within and put out information about him on social media on Monday, the day he would have turned 86.

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His partner Vanessa Martin, whose grandson Charlie created the film which was shown in Wigan this week at a British Film Institute (BFI) summer school, said Barry was hugely proud of his borough roots.

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She said: “I think it’s absolutely lovely and Barry would have had a big smile on his face.

“He was always very proud of coming from Lancashire, especially Wigan. Wherever he went he would tell everyone where he was born.

“It makes me happy because I know he would have been happy. Barry was a massive part of my life and when he’s gone it has left a huge void.

“This keeps his memory going and the main thing is that it is where his roots are. It completes the circle.”

Vanessa said he would have been particularly thrilled about his music being used in an educational context.

She said: “Barry was involved with a songwriting competition for young people. He would go through loads of songs and whittle them down. He would always give positive feedback to encourage them and did what he could to help.

“Since he’s gone I’ve realised how pivotal he has been to many people’s careers. Very successful songwriters have told me they wouldn’t have got involved in music if it wasn’t for Barry. It was his generosity of spirit, he had time for everybody.

“He just loved people. He could get them talking. I think that was what made him such a great lyricist, he would absorb all this information.

“He loved what he did. He loved melody and he was a storyteller, that was his thing.

“Barry liked to prove a point, that it didn’t matter where you started off in life or whether you had riches or not, it was what you did. Young people can see that if you work hard you can get there.

“It’s lovely they screened the film. He and Charlie thoroughly enjoyed working on it together.

“The BFI did a screening in Hackney in East London on the big screen. Barry said he had started out wanting to be an actor or a singer. It was quite funny and lovely.”

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