Obituary: Barry van Geffen – Lymington yacht designer and hospital radio co-founder
TRIBUTES have been paid to yacht designer and hospital radio co-founder Barry van Geffen from Lymington, who has died aged 67.
Barry, who worked for several renowned companies before setting up his own, was also one of the founder members of Radio Link, which is now known as New Forest Hospital Radio.
He became an active fundraiser and used his professional skills to design the first studio. He went on to be elected president – a post he held for 25 years.
As a tribute to Barry’s memory, the station played an hour-long interview originally recorded in 2011 when six of the founders were reunited.
As the head of Van Geffen Yacht Design, Barry’s philosophy was one of traditional values alongside modern technology, encompassing classic and contemporary yacht design. He also worked for longtime friend Peter Sanders at Sanders Sails in Lymington, where he was responsible for running the laser cutting machine.
At the outbreak of the coronavirus, Sanders Sails started making free scrub bags that nurses could transport their uniforms without fear of infecting families and friends. It ended up supplying over 3,000, plus over 2,000 sets of scrubs.
Barry, who was instrumental in the effort but did not charge for his time, also took responsibility for delivering the items. He died before Sanders Sails received a letter from the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire thanking the company for its efforts and acknowledging Barry’s contribution.
His family described him as “very talented, generous, modest, patient and loving”, adding: “The many messages of condolences from friends and colleagues on social media, to Barry’s family and to his ‘family’ at Sanders Sails, bear testimony to the genuine love and high affection in which Barry was held by so many.”
Barry was born in Barton on 30th June 1954. He attended Lymington infant and junior schools and then Priestlands.
Barry continued his education at college, studying naval architecture, and commenced his design career as a junior draftsman/designer with internationally renowned yacht designers Laurent Giles and Partners, based in Lymington.
His seven-year apprenticeship covered custom motor and sailing yachts, culminating with designs for the world-famous Westerley yacht builders.
He was responsible for superyachts built in Italy and Greece as well as smaller cruisers in the UK and also designed one of the largest motor-yachts in the world, The Other Woman, built in Australia in 1991.
In 1981 he began working for world-renowned Ed Dubois, with projects including large racing and cruising yachts and the company’s first superyacht project.
Barry returned to Laurent Giles as a partner in 1985 and with a wide range of experience was able to guide it back to the forefront of superyacht design.
When he left the company in 2007 Barry moved with his family to New Zealand to set up a new yacht design and building company.
A few years later, after the end of his marriage, he returned to the New Forest and set up his own company.
He enjoyed spending time with children Sam, Josh, Lizzie and Eve and took pride in their personal achievements.
Barry married Edina in October 2019 and welcomed stepdaughter Mira to the family, devoting his Saturday afternoons to taking her to gymnastics class. He died on 26th September and his funeral was held on 1st November.