TRIBUTES were today paid to a Wearside hairdresser to the stars after he lost his long battle with illness.
Barry Darby, one half of Barry and Bobby’s Hair Design, cut the hair of a host of celebrities during his years as a top stylist, rubbing shoulders with actors, footballers, fashion designers and models.
After a traineeship, Barry, from Sunderland, and partner of 36 years, Bobby Mukabaa, opened their first salon in Newcastle in 1976.
As the success of the business grew, the pair opened a larger salon in the city three years later.
Barry and Bobby quickly made a name for themselves, serving a string of television personalities, including Joanna Lumley and Tara-Palmer Tomkinson.
Barry was also a favourite with actors performing at the Theatre Royal.
Famous stars he worked with included British actress Stephanie Beacham, Linda Barker, James Bond girl Honor Blackman and ITV presenter Pam Royle.
But, as his condition worsened, Barry was forced to cut short his career about five years ago, eventually giving up the salon.
The 67-year-old, who suffered from the degenerative condition Parkinson’s Disease, died in hospital on December 23.
Today his loved ones paid tribute.
Bobby, who cared for Barry throughout his illness, said: “We did everything together. We travelled together and we worked together.
“He will be a big miss in my heart.”
The hairdresser, who moved to Newcastle to complete his training, grew up in Sunderland, attending St Benet’s School while his parents ran the city’s Norfolk Hotel.
Lifelong friend Pat Mahan, 67, of Penshaw, said: “We were such good friends. We went to shows in London together and it was like being with a best pal.
“They were the best times of my life.”
Pat also paid tribute to medics at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary who cared for him.
“Dr Chris Record and Dr Hanna Mardini were amazing,” she said. “We want to thank all the staff who looked after him.”
Hundreds of mourners attended his funeral service at Holy Name RC Church, Jesmond. , Newcastle, on Monday.
“Everybody knew Barry and Bobby Hair Design,” added Pat. “A lot of the Newcastle footballers used to go to the salon and he got to know manager Bobby Robson.
“Former chairman Freddy Shepherd was at the funeral as well as members of John Hall’s family. It was an amazing turn-out.”