Jimmy Barzey was born on the small Caribbean island of Montserrat in around 1940.
He joined the Communist Party and became a well-known activist on his home patch in Southall, West London, becoming branch secretary of the Southall branch. He remained a member for many years before joining the Labour Party.
Despite having an artificial leg, he was always on the move, on the door knocker, selling the Morning Star, campaigning for justice, against racism and for local democracy. Always smiling and laughing, with a good word for almost everyone, he was a well-loved and well-known community activist in the area. He recruited dozens of people to the Party, but it has to be said, many joined because they loved and admired Jimmy and just didn’t want to disappoint him by saying ‘No’!
He participated in many community organisations, including The West London Asian Health Agency (TAHA), of which he was a member of the 2001 Management Committee. He was a friend of a number of leading London Caribbean activists, like Gus John, and was close to the Grenadan ambassador at the time (1970s)
At his funeral on January 19th 2010, Andy Slaughter Labour MP for Hammersmith, said: `Today, I attended the funeral of another old friend and stalwart of the community in Hammersmith. Jimmy Barzey was for forty years one of the leading figures in the Afro-Caribbean community in west London, a delightful, gentle man who had time for everyone. I spoke to him several times on the ‘phone before Christmas, when he offered to run my election campaign! The minister coupled prayers for Jimmy – born in Montserrat – with people of another island that has suffered natural disaster – Haiti. A fitting tribute for a man who always thought of others before himself.
Any new material or information on Jimmy’s life would be most welcome.