A FAMILY has paid tribute to the man described as a “larger than life character” who always had the Barry community at his heart.

Bryan Foley, of Guthrie Street, died unexpectedly on Saturday, June 6 – aged 58.

Mr Foley was well known in Barry for his prolific voluntary work.

Following his death, the cenotaph outside the Barry Memorial Hall, was lit up in tribute.


"You will be busy teaching CPR to the angels" - Barry tributes to Bryan Foley

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He was a community first responder, a group scout leader with 11th Barry Seas Scouts, and volunteer with the Royal British Legion (RBL).

He was involved with the RBL Poppy Appeal and the Merchant Navy Association as a standard bearer.

He helped the Tall Ships Youth Trust and was with the British Red Cross and St John in his teens and early twenties.

He also had links to Barry Coastguard and was a member of Cadoxton Methodist Church which he attended regularly for 30 years.

He was born in Australia, when his parents were seconded to the Australian Navy, and on returning to Barry, aged five, he attended Cadoxton Primary school and Barry Boys Comprehensive.

He was also a member of the Vale of Glamorgan Brass Band in his youth as a drummer.

Professionally, he was once an assistant manager in H Samuels Jewellers.

In his younger days, he worked for Provident Personal credit and was a financial advisor.

Most recently a change of career led him to become a bus driver for Cardiff Bus, which turned out to be his most rewarding job - ironically following in his dad's footsteps.

Speaking about him, his children Emma Foley, 26, Rachael Worthy, 23, and Aled Foley, 22, said: “All Bryan needed was a roof over his head, clothes on his back and food in his belly.

“He was the least materialistic person we knew.

“He was enormously generous with his time if somebody needed help.

“He would drop what he was doing and disappear, sometimes for several hours, to assist someone in need.

“He adored his children and there isn't anything he wouldn't do for them - unless someone else's needs were greater in the moment.

“He could talk a glass eye to sleep as many people will a-test.

“It has been known to ignore a phone call from Bryan for fear of an hour plus conversation.

“He was incredibly loud; everyone knew they were in his company.

“Ironically, for all his community presence, he has very humble and hated the limelight and chose not to recognise his achievements.

They added: “When he wasn't working, devoting his time to the many charities or spending time with his family, dad would provide first-aid and training at events across the UK.

“There are no words great enough to describe how special he was, to us and everyone who he met along the way; he was just our dad.

“A part of Barry was lost on June 6, an amazing father, but also the greatest citizen a town could ever had.”

He was one of the original starters of Barry CFR 15 years ago.

He saved countless lives, helped train other CFR volunteers, supported heart charities, and secured defibrillators for communities across South Wales.

Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust chief executive, Jason Killens said: “The Welsh Ambulance Service was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of well-known community first responder colleague, Bryan Foley.

“Bryan was a stalwart CFR in Barry and a great mentor to the CFR community across Wales.

“He was the epitome of a dedicated volunteer and had made a huge contribution to the Welsh Ambulance Service, and his local community, having saved countless lives since qualifying as a CFR back in 2004.

“Bryan’s loss will be profoundly felt by everyone here at Team WAST, and we extend our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and colleagues at this incredibly difficult time.

“Our focus now is on supporting Bryan’s family and bereaved colleagues.”

Cardiff Bus operations and commercial director, Gareth Stevens said: “Bryan work worked with us for just over a year and was a valued member of our driving team.

“Bryan displayed all the attributes that made him a great ambassador for us whilst fulfilling his role.

“Not only that, he was a great friend to his colleagues across the organisation and, indeed, helped a colleague who needed urgent assistance not long into his time with us.

“For these reasons, along with his cheery disposition and wide-ranging work he did within his local community.

“He will be missed.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

RBL Poppy Appeal organiser, Teresa Goodwin, together with husband and appeal co-organiser Ray, said: “Bryan was our friend, a special friend.

“In the years we have known him friendship grew stronger through a joint effort within the Poppy Appeal in Barry and surrounding areas.

“Outside of the Poppy Appeal, we laughed, cried and drank homebrew with fish and chips together.

“Words just cannot explain our friendship, we each knew what the others were thinking.

“Bryan knew us better than we know ourselves.

“He was a dedicated, selfless, kind and generous individual, a special person, a special friend.

“We are numb with shock and feel so privileged to have known him for six years.

“We will miss him terribly, and the town has lost a real community hero.”

Scout leader, Neil Murray said: “Bryan was the group scout leader of the 11th Barry Sea Scout Group, and the heart and soul of the group.

“He never liked to do ‘normal’, the more out of the box an idea was the more he liked it.

“He never said no to any of the crazy things we, as leaders, wanted to do.

“In fact, it was usually the other way round.

“He would be the one ringing you and saying something like ‘I’ve had an idea for the cubs….’ and you would sit there thinking we can’t do that.

“A short while later something would click and you would call him back and say ‘you know that daft idea of yours, well what if…..’.

“That’s how he worked, he planted the idea and guided the leadership team.

“He never once told us ‘no you can’t do that’ or ‘you will do this.

“One such idea of his, was for the scouts to camp on the water in Barry Docks.

“He called me one night around 10pm and said he’d just had a daft idea.

“Basically, he wanted to get hold of some large inflatable life rafts, the type you find on cruise ships, and for the scouts to sleep on then while tied to the pontoons at the Barry Community Water Activity Centre.

“I think my reply was something along the lines of you’re mad!

“Twenty minutes later he had sold me on the idea and we were starting to plan it.

“Unfortunately, the cost of the life rafts was quite a bit more than Bryan anticipated and we never got to do it.

“That didn’t stop him coming up with other ‘daft ideas’ as he would put it.”

Mr Murray added: “Bryan had friends in scouting all across the globe, with links to groups in the Middle East, South Africa, Australia, and America.

“He was a great believer in the positive contribution Scouting made to the world and loved to meet new people from scout groups around the world, many of who made their way to Barry at some point to meet him and the group.

“We have not just lost our group scout leader and friend, but a much-loved member of our family.

“If he was here now, he would be the one saying right gang let’s pull ourselves together and get on with it, and that’s exactly what we will do.

“Because that is what he would do and what he would want us all to do.”

The Barry Coastguard rescue team said: We as a team would like to pay tribute to a man that has spent his life helping others, a larger than life character who’s drive and tenacity was second to none, whether supporting various charities and his contributions to his local community.

“For decades we have worked closely with Bryan who would bring generations of scouts over to our station so they learn lifesaving skills to assisting us with casualty care on our live call outs.

“Our deepest condolences to his family and close friends.”

Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS) said the organisation was saddened.

Spokesman, Mark Stillman said: “Bryan passionately promoted GVS’ work to the numerous community groups which he was an integral part of.

“Bryan provided GVS with free first aid training and we always loved his self-motivating, tireless commitment to the community in which he lived and served.

“Bryan’s commitment to the groups he represented was epitomised by his call to GVS the day before his passing, urgently asking for us to “post to Facebook” a huge thank you, during volunteers’ week, to the volunteers who have helped him at 11th Barry Sea Scout Group.

“A true community hero, rest in peace Bryan.”

Vice patron of the Tall Ships Youth Trust and chairman of the South East Wales volunteer committee, Peter Coleman said: “I first met Bryan in 2007 although, due to his larger than life personality it seems as if I had known him for a lot longer.

“We met at the 2007 Barry Waterfront Festival when the tall ship “Stavros S Niarchos” was the headline attraction.

“Bryan was interested in arranging for his daughter Emma to take part in a voyage, something she then did.

“Bryan was so impressed by the ship, people, and activities of the Tall Ships Youth Trust that he volunteered and became a cornerstone of the local support branch.

“Bryan was never happier than when a ship was in port and he could throw his enthusiasm and skills into supporting both the ship and crew during such visits.

“He would be waiting on the quayside for the arrival of the ship, whatever the weather, ready to undertake whatever practical help was required.

“He could be seen checking with the captain and deck officers as to what was needed to be repaired or procured, arranging for such needs to be sorted, marshalling visitors, leading conducted tours around the ship, and anything else that needed to be done.

“Nothing was too much trouble, indeed he thought that it was all great fun.”

Mr Coleman added: “During one visit we had one of many downpours and Bryan, in his imitable style, invited an Oompah band that was just passing by to take cover under a quayside gazebo.

“Imagine such a band, plus all the volunteers including Bryan sheltering under a three-metre gazebo.

“And just to add to the fun the band gave an impromptu performance – we were all made!

“His daughter Emma sailed with the Trust and became a respected member of the voyage crew.

“When she achieved her Duke of Edinburgh award it seemed a natural choice for Captain Keating, with whom she had sailed, to present her with her award and a ceremony was held on the bridge of the “Starvos S Niarchos”; proud dad in attendance

“In being a keen and enthusiastic supporter of the Trust Bryan always attended committee meetings ready to volunteer for any tasks and to promote the Trust within the wide range of organisations which he touched.

“He is a great loss to all who knew him

“He was also a great friend and it has been my privilege to have known him.”

Long-time friend and former High Street Traders Association chairman, Bob Armstrong said: “Bryan was a strong character.

“I’ve known Bryan since we were in junior school.

“He lived two streets away from me and we had gangs at that time.

“He was the quietest character then.

“As time moved on we went different ways, but we came back together and chatted about different issues and so forth.

“We both had a passion for first aid and St John, Red Cross and got involved for many years.

“Between us we used to organise major disasters for training purposes.

“We used to do competitions with another colleague of ours – Peter Sampson.

“We would run the Red Cross over Barry Island.

“In High Street, I was in charge of the youth.

“Bryan got involved in it as well with Peter Sampson and we did so much together.

“We used to plan and organise disasters, coordinate emergency services and we had to train people how to act if they were in a difficult position.

“I’m going to miss him dearly because every time he would come in the shop or we would meet up it wasn’t a five-aminute job it was an hour, maybe two hour chat – never boring.

“It was always something interesting or he knew someone or somebody we could get information off.

“’We’ll sort that out with so and so’.

“It was really good fun.

“He was involved with so many other things and he did so much good and wanted to do so much good.

“It’s going to be a big loss for many people because he just had this giving nature and there were very few people like Bryan around.

“It’s a really big loss and I think he should be commemorated in some way or some fashion.””

Gerry Adams said: “Fifteen years ago I met Bryan at the first meeting of the Barry Responder scheme.

“I was immediately struck by his vigour for life, his confidence and enthusiasm.

“Since then we have worked together on Shouts many times.

“Some years later I remember a particularly successful call out.

“Bryan and I were chatting outside my workshops when our phones simultaneously bleeped a red call.

“I jumped in his car and we sped off.

“Bryan had a road map of a memory for places and always knew where to go, but on this occasion I checked on the map and we rerouted.

“Arriving at the house within minutes, we bowled through the open front door and were directed to the conservatory by the wife, still on the phone to ambulance control. “We found her husband laying on the floor looking very dead.

“Space was tight and we had to shift furniture to gain the space to start our work.

“By this time we were familiar with working together and knew the protocol, we functioned as a well-oiled machine checking for life, revealing the chest and preparing the defibrillator to analyse for a rhythm.

“Alternating between compressions and breaths followed with interruptions as the defibrillator checked for a shockable rhythm.

“No shock advised, more compressions.

“No shock advised.

“Then eventually the defibrillator droned ‘shock advised’, we had circulated enough blood to bring a little hope to his heart, we had a shockable rhythm.

“Stand clear of the patient and then bang, Bryan hit the button.

“We waited a moment, but no heartbeat.

“More compressions, more shocks until after the sixth shock our patients heart finally responded.


“We continued to assist the patient with his breathing until the cavalry arrived.

“We handed over to the paramedics and in a flurry he was on the ambulance and the sirens wailed into the distance.

“We just sat there taking it all in.

“It was like being thrown out of a whirlwind, we were dazed and excited by our save.

“We cleared away our equipment and waited to hear if he had made it to hospital alive.

“Eventually after a few days we had the good news that he was a survivor.

“He is still alive to this day more than 10 years later.

“A one in a million success which contrary to what you see on film happens incredibly rarely.

“We earned a special merit from the ambulance service for that day’s intervention and later there were many occasions for photographs and stories in the papers.

“Bryan was never interested in gongs or accolades and always made some excuse to stay away from publicity.

“In my mind Bryan was a true modern day hero, he saved lives but in many ways he brought kindness and compassion to thousands of people in Barry and the surrounding area in myriad ways as they suffered with sickness and death, awaiting an ambulance.

“Rest in peace Bryan Foley.

“The community of Barry salutes you.”

Friend and Vale council photographer, John O’Beirne said: “I can’t remember how I first met Bryan, think it was a case of we would both turn up at the same events, him usually as the organiser me as a press photographer.

“It quickly became apparent that if you need any information then Bryan was the man to speak too.

“What I always liked about him was his enthusiasm for everything he got undertook, he had to believe in it 110 per cent or he would not get involved.

“He was constantly on the go.

“I often wondered if he ever had time for himself as he hardly ever said “no”.

“The one exception to that would be (but he never used the word) when I wanted a photograph of him at events, he would always want me to photograph others members of his team or groups rather than him – “Look these people are far more important than me, take their picture” – even though he was the leader or organiser. “Any photographs of have of Bryn could only be taken at events like Armistice Day, Remembrance parades or Scouting events when he couldn’t escape.

“When he told me he was going to work for Cardiff Bus, I assumed in the finance office but no, going to be a bus driver – again good use of his people skills all done with a smile.

“Barry is a better place for having Bryan and his legacy will live on.”

Staff and councillors at Barry Town Council were also deeply saddened.

“Bryan was a larger than life person with a big personality, a man who was always ready to help and support others in the community,” the council said. “He was an incredibly active member of our community through his work and volunteering with the Royal British Legion, first responders and the Scout movement, as well as his support and dedication for various events such as Remembrance Day.

“Bryan worked with us closely over the years to provide First Aid cover at our local events and was a vocal voice for young people and local issues on the advisory group’s that he sat on with us.

“Bryan will be truly missed by all who knew him.”

Vale MS Jane Hutt said: “I was shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Bryan Foley.

“Bryan was an exceptional person.

“I have been privileged to know him over the past 20 years as patron of the Barry first responders, which Bryan set up.

“Bryan was caring, compassionate and absolutely dedicated to saving lives.

“His professional skills were outstanding and he trained many responder volunteers and Barry businesses, raising funds for the defibrillators installed with Barry Rotary Club support.

“Bryan was always taking care of others at the RBL parades, attending Cenotaph memorial events and of course his commitment to the scouting movement made such a difference to the lives of many young people.

“He was loved and respected and will be greatly missed.

“My sincere condolences to his children who he was so proud of.

“A true citizen of Barry with a big heart.”

Vale MP Alun Cairns said: “Bryan was a First Responder, Scout leader, Royal British Legion champion and Standard Barer amongst so many other activities.

“As a First Responder, he was one of the first to save another's life with a defibrillator.

“Above all, he was a family man.

“He will be missed by everyone across the community, but his family will suffer the greatest loss.

“Thank you, Bryan for all your work across Barry and beyond. You made a difference.”

The funeral was at the Cardiff & Glamorgan Crematorium & Memorial Park at 11am on Tuesday, June 30.