TWO weeks ago we looked back at the life and work of Blackburn-born Barry Gray, the man whose theme tunes for TV shows were known across the world in the 1960s and beyond.

And it brought back marvellous memories for one reader.

The talented composer, who was born John Livesey Eccles in 1908, studied at Blackburn Cathedral and later wrote the theme tune for Thunderbirds – a 1960s TV phenomenon with its catchphrases ‘F A B’ and ‘Thunderbirds are go!’

He also composed the music for other futuristic shows produced by writer Gerry Anderson including Stingray, Fireball XL5, Joe 90, and Captain Scarlet. His father, John Haworth Eccles, was a stationery traveller by profession, but both he and Barry’s mother Florence were musically talented.

Barry’s musical education began at St Silas’ Primary School, Revidge, from 1913.

Barbara Riding wrote in to say: “I was thrilled to read the story of Barry (Jack Eccles), who composed the music for Thunderbirds because my family knew him.

“His father, also called Jack Eccles worked for Blackburn Paper Company on Randal Street run by my grandfather J.H. Robinson. I have a printed copy of a poem Mr Eccles wrote about his experiences in the army in Palestine during the First World War which is dedicated to his son Jack.

“At the beginning of the Second World War Mrs Eccles had a boarding house in Dorchester Road in Blackpool where we stayed several times. We met Barry there when he was home on leave from the RAF, although we did not know him by that name in those days.

“A lady called Winnie Shaliker who was a well-known actress in Blackburn drama circles, lived next door to my mother in Strawberry Bank. She knocked at my mother’s door one day and asked, ‘Can my friend Barry use your phone?’

“My mother looked at him and cried, ‘Jack!’ He went in and used her phone and stayed for a long chat. Many years later Winnie gave me a copy of the card he sent to her when he and his family moved to Guernsey. One of his hobbies was drawing and calligraphy.

“Several years ago there was a programme on the television about the 50 most popular TV signature tunes. ‘Thunderbirds’ was number one, and at the end of the programme his children, Simon Gray and Amanda Wilcock, spoke proudly about their father.”