Family and friends have been paying tribute to 'true Torquinian' Mike Bailey.
Mike died just a months after his lifetime soulmate and wife-of-62 years, Barbara, passed away. He was 85.
The son of George and Paula Bailey and with a sister, Eileen, and brother Norri, Hele Village was to be the happy family home for many years, firstly in Winchester Avenue.
Mike initially trained as a car sprayer and had a seasonal jobs at Oddicombe Beach, working on the paddleboats. He then worked as a lorry driver before retraining and settling into a career as a painter and decorator, working on many historical buildings in the area including Oldway Mansion in Paignton.
For many years he was chairman of Hele's RAOB Club. As part of its work to support the community, there were many children’s Christmas parties. Mike would regularly dress up to give the children their Christmas presents, sometimes as a traditional Father Christmas, other times as a clown and even one very memorable year as a Womble.
Mike's life was Barbara but, sadly, she died last October. For their first date, Mike wore a bow tie and was known to wear a multitude of different colours on their dates.
They were married in 1958 and moved to their family home in Dorchester Grove a few years later. They had their three children, Jen, Julie and John. They spent many happy years in the Grove and in time welcomed their grand-children Louise; Craig, Tilly and Leanne into the family.
Mike and Barbara shared 62 years of marriage together and on their 60th anniversary, Mike was so proud to receive a card from the Queen, which remains on the wall in the living room now.
From the day Mike lost his beloved Barbara, he mourned the loss of his true love. He of course, continued to enjoy time with his family and a visit to Paignton Zoo - a place that because of his love of animals - with his daughters, granddaughters and great granddaughters Martha and Poppy was to be his final day out. The next day, he was admitted to Torbay Hospital with respiratory difficulties and a little over a week later died peacefully on the Simpson ward.
Mike and Barbara loved nothing more than family time and family holidays. A really memorable holiday for Mike was a trip to Africa with his grandson Craig for his 70th birthday. Another favourite memory was the cruise that Mike, Barbara, daughter Julie and her late husband John went on to Norway. The cruise ships currently in the Bay really reminded Mike and the family of this wonderful holiday that they were lucky enough to experience.
A true family man, Mike loved a wide variety of music and Cowboy/ Western movies - Deadwood Stage by the late Doris Day was an all-time favourite and Running Bear was played at granddaughter Louise’s wedding.
At his funeral his family recounted many of the stories from Mike's colourful life including his days at Barton Primary School and his dad returning home from a wartime posting in Jamaica with a monkey called Jacko. How bananas were a luxury during the post war day and how Norrie, Torquay's answer to 'Del Boy' sold banana skins to the locals and convinced them to eat them. And how on his first day at then Audley Park School he was given the cane for talking to another young man at assembly.
And how, one New Year’s Eve, walking down Newton Road when apparently two ghosts jumped out at him. Terrified of ghosts, he ran to his sister’s house in Shiphay. The ghosts were, fact, two nurses dressed up and enjoying the festivities.
Mike was a proud member of the Audley Park school choir and was very proud to have performed at Exeter Cathedral.
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