Ray's funeral took place on 1st February 2013
Rays popularity and quirks were highlighted in a magnificent tribute at a packed Crematorium in Sunderland.
All the seats were taken which meant the remaining people had to squash themselves in at the rear of the hall.
At times amusing, I can imagine Ray chuckling in the background at some of the comments that were forthcoming during the service. Poems and fond memories were amongst some of the warmest and uplifting thoughts ever heard at such a service.
Colin Haikney(piano) and Graham Hardy (trumpet) played a superb rendition of Ray's signature tune "Whats New".....the throngs of people immediately bursting into rapturous applause at the close. A track from Ray's CD recorded at the Alexandria pub in 2004 highlighted the magnificence of the band and Rays own arrangement of "The folks who live on the hill" beautifully sung by Mia Webb......I noticed a few people reaching for the tissues as it concluded. To the strains of "Gabriel's Oboe" the curtains closed and the coffin disappeared from view...........FAREWELL.
As a former dep for the band, myself and thousands of others whom have had the opportunity not only to play Ray's arrangements but were graced by his company....... WE CAN ONLY SAY THE MUSIC BUSINESS HAS LOST A GEM......no doubt he will scribbling away writing new arrangements as this is being written..........I can only say you're in for a treat up there.....just remember not to leave your cases lying around as Ray is bound to trip over it !!!!