Brian Harris: Always There to Lend a Hand

On the day he died of a heart attack, Brian Harris was helping a friend repair a model train track in his garage.

“Right to his last moment, he was always ready to lend a hand”, his wife Betty said.

Helping out at the village hall bar
“He was a go-to man!”

Brian Harris, 78, a much-loved Woodborough resident, who passed away in August of a heart attack, will be remembered for his tireless work for the community and his devotion to his family.

His family included his wife Betty and his three children Debbie, Suzy and Jenny, and seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

He left school and went to work as an apprentice in Netherfield at the Colwick loco. He then moved to the Gedling colliery where he worked as an assistant mechanical engineer until his retirement.

In 1999, he helped lead the Millennium Beacon project in the village with George Simpson, Tim Leafe and others, helping organise its construction and digging the foundations. It was unveiled on Millennium Eve and lit with wood on its first firing, but later converted to gas. It was “a labour of love” for Brian and everyone else involved.

Brian and his wife Betty in Tintagel

His grandson Liam, who sometimes helped him light the beacon, said he had precious memories of his granddad, who was such “a big hearted man”.

He helped his friend and neighbour Barry Sawyer build and install the wooden planters in the village that were used for the Woodborough in Bloom competition.

WCA chair Linda Taylor said: “Brian was a kind and hard-working man. His contributions to the community of Woodborough have been outstanding. From leading major projects such as the building of the village beacon, always being on hand with his trusty van to collect and put out tables for the Street Market, serving behind the bar at village events, to countless smaller acts of kindness undertaken, year after year. He will be sadly missed.”

Helping neighbours Harvey and Barry
Helping neighbours Harvey and Barry

One of his childhood schoolmates, Fred, who now lives in Australia, said Brian was “a go-to man, if you needed something he had it or knew where to get it”.

“If you had somewhere to go, he knew how to get there — even if he had to take you himself!”

His sister Christine said: “Brian will be missed by all of the family and all who knew him or that helped in life as he did for me.”


“Brian was a kind and hard-working man. His contributions to the community of Woodborough … include countless … acts of kindness undertaken, year after year.”

Linda Taylor, WCA Chair