Grassroots charity promoting the right for people with learning disabilities to have a choice about how they live their lives

In memory of Simon Barker


Many of you will will already know the terribly sad news that Simon, the frontman of Heavy Load and one of the founders of Stay Up Late, passed away suddenly on 10th August' 17.

We were devastated to hear the news, he was such a massive part of our lives and a great friend. He will be missed.

There have been some lovely tributes to Simon on Facebook and we'd like to try and capture any memories and stories that you have to help celebrate the great man's life, and so we can show all these to his family. 

Simon's family would like to extend an invite to anyone who would like to come to his funeral. It will be held on:

Wed 13th Sep, 11am at Downs Crematorium in the big chapel.

(Top of Bear Rd).

Afterwards there will be a celebration of Simon's life at the Mile Oak Pub, Mile Oak Rd, Mile Oak.

All are welcome to come to both, or either, the funeral and the celebration.

If you have a story or memory that you would like to share please post them below as comments.

And here's a wonderful tribute show from The Strange Boutique inspired by Simon's life and music.

Thank you



  • Petesy Burns

    I heard of Simon’s death last week and was truly gutted. I dug out my Heavy Load dvd and watched it again with tears of happiness and sometimes sadness streaming down my face. Simon’s energy was infectious and he is up there with all the other legendary punk rock singers who made us think about our own potential. I cannot be at the funeral but please pass on my sincere condolences to Simon’s family, the rest of Heavy Load and all who were involved with him.

  • Craig Halliday

    Simon had me roaring with laughter so many times at the heavy load gigs I could write a book about it. He’s most of the reason I have the Heavy Load tattoo on my leg, for me personally he was a legend and i’m absolutely gutted that he’s not around anymore. Love and respect to everyone in Heavy Load and stayuplate, my deepest sympathy to you all. X

  • Mick Williams

    I’m so grateful Simon came into my life. He gave me a constant smile whenever we were together, and he helped restore my faith in playing in bands. We had so many great adventures in Heavy Load… a lifetime of amazing memories! I will always remember Simon for his massive heart, and I’m going to miss him, big time.

  • I remember Simon belting out the Heavy Load version of “That’s not my name!” in The Tunnels in Aberdeen. Wendy remembers him visiting the Info Hub the next day, and eating them out of biscuits!

  • Hugh James Campkin

    Simon and the band have been an inspiration to me and to many people I know. His legacy is that of changing attitudes… what a life, well-lived!

    Peace to his family and friends who will be missing him deeply – in fact, in perfect balance with the depth of love felt for him in his life

  • Louise Snowdon

    Really sad news. I saw Heavy Load perform many years ago in Keswick Rugby Club as part of the Keswick film festival and have been following their progress with interest every since. Simon was a great punk front man with a great sense of fun and performance and he will be remembered fondly. My thoughts are with his friends and family.

    Louise Snowdon

  • Paul Barnard

    Really sorry to hear the news, my thoughts are with his family and friends. I saw Simon perform at the Croydon Clocktower, what a performer!!! He had an amazing presence! He came down off the stage into the audience and seemed so comfortable being surrounded by fans!

  • Robertmm Epps

    man, what a sad day. all we ever had over here in the states was the heavy load movie. never got to see them live. simon was AWESOME as the lead singer. loved his comedic moments. peace to his family, and may the memory live on…..richard

  • Kerry Ann Burke

    The grief of Simon’s passing is felt all the way in Colorado USA. However, anytime I play the music of Heavy Load, I can’t hold back the smiles (currently mixed with tears). My deepest condolences go out to his family, his friends, his band mates, and everyone who’s lives were touched by him and his music. Raise hell in heaven, Simon!

  • Kerry Ann Burke

    The grief of Simon’s passing is felt all the way in Colorado USA. However, anytime I play the music of Heavy Load, I can’t hold back the smiles (currently mixed with tears). My deepest condolences go out to his family, his friends, his band mates, and everyone who’s lives were touched by him and his music. Raise hell in heaven, Simon!

  • Claire McArthur

    Such sad news…we saw Simon perform with Heavy Load at Wychwood Festival many years ago. I was completely inspired by him and the band and their staying up late campaign and emailed them to tell them this. I also tried to get the care organisation I was working for at the time to take on board the campaign. Much love to his family and friends. RIP Simon
    Claire Stewart x

  • Matthew Homer

    So sorry to learn of Simon’s passing.

    I can’t tell you how excited I was to see Simon at the Different Lens film screening back in March. I was so pleased that he attended and his infectious personality really helped to make it such a brilliant evening.

    Simon is up there with the best frontmen. Not only could you not fail to be entertained by his electric enthusiasm, but his place as the lead singer of Heavy Load has inspired so many who are constantly told what they can and can’t do. I certainly include myself in that and am grateful that I had the pleasure to know him. RIP Simon.

  • Colin Hambrook

    Am so sorry to hear this sad news. Simon was a wonderful inspiration to so many with the vibrant enthusiasm and joy that he and Heavy Load gave out at every gig. We’ve lost so many musical greats in the last few years. In my mind Simon stands amongst them for the originality he brought to live performance. Much love to his family and everyone close to him at this difficult time. Colin x

  • Dave Calvert

    I was so very sad to hear this news, like many fans of the band I feel bereft at the loss of such a great artist. My condolences to all his friends, family and the rest of Heavy Load.

    I saw Heavy Load play live several times, and Simon was always on top form, a powerhouse performer. He was an absolute trailblazer and while deeply sad that we’ll never be able to watch him light up a stage again, I’m so very grateful for all of the joyful memories. RIP Simon (Rest in Punk).

  • MrBassMan43

    This tribute is from Tom, who used to manage the place where Simon lived:
    “Simon is one of the most amazing men I have known. I met him after I was appointed manager of Hova Villas, the new service which he moved into in 1999. We we got on immediately and I became extremely fond of him. I loved and respected his rebelliousness, his huge enthusiasm and passion for anything that really mattered to him and his firm dismissal of anything that didn’t. He is one of the most loyal, fun-loving, at times reckless, always determined, honest and kindest people I have known and I’m immensely proud that he called me ‘friend’.”

  • EJ Emily Blandford

    When I heard the news about Simon, my first reaction was total Shock. How could such a vibrant man be gone, just like that? I was privileged to know Simon, to accompany him to gigs, to enjoy his amazing performance style and irreverent sense of humour.
    He was kind, funny, charming and just great company. He made me laugh, he made me cry. He made the world a better place. Goodbye my friend, rest in peace. Emily xxxxx

    • MrBassMan43


  • Richard Andrew Foster

    I didn’t know Simon, but I’m really inspired by his attitude and activism. I work with learning disabled people and I’m appalled by the control and constraints placed on them by their so-called “carers.”

    Learning disabled people should be free to live their lives…


    • MrBassMan43


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