‘Local legend’ Barry Cass dies from Covid

By Chris Cornford Feb 1, 2021

Legendary pub landlord Barry Cass has died of Covid in St Mary’s, aged 74.

Barry was one of the longest serving landlords in the country having run the Duke of York in Cowes for 50 years. He was also involved in powerboat racing and took part in the annual event in Cowes in the Class 2 monohull J&B Whisky.

Tributes poured in for the much-loved landlord, with Cowes RNLI Lifeboat posting: “There must be many ILB (Inshore Lifeboat) crews from Britain, Ireland and overseas who enjoyed staying at the pub or the Cowes Hotel whilst attending their ILB course at the ILC (Inshore Lifeboat Centre), East Cowes before the training moved to Poole in 2004.
“Barry was an accomplished powerboat racer and one of those Cowes people who was quietly in the background of everything.

“He supported the Independent Cowes lifeboat throughout its 20-year existence (1988-2008) by making those all-important connections for them. He unfailingly supplied complimentary tasty hot platters for their crew after their training nights and for us in the four years we used the old independent’s base.
“Cowes is going to miss this publican of 50 years’ service – someone who took delight in helping others and shared our love of the sea.
“The thoughts of all the volunteers at Cowes and the RNLI staff at the ILC are with Sally and the whole Cass family.”

Island musician, Alex Katsikides, who played in the pub, said: “It’s not very often in life that you meet someone that is truly special but, on every meeting, it was abundantly clear that Barry was just that.”

While Ratsey and Lapthorn, Classic Sailmakers Cowes, added: “Our heartfelt condolences to the family of Barry Cass. He really did embody the phrase ‘local legend’ and being at the helm of the Duke of York in Cowes for so many years it’s hard to imagine the place without him.”

Mr Cass was also a former President of Cowes Sports FC, and a club spokesman said: “We are sad to hear of the passing of Barry Cass, the long-time Landlord of the Duke of York pub in Cowes. Barry was the President of the Club between the mid 70s and mid 80s and was a generous benefactor during that time and subsequently also. Our sincere condolences to Sally and all of the Cass family at this sad time.”