Nigel Keonen's memories of Ray, who sadly died on 4th October 2012 after a long illness with Parkinson's disease.
I got to know Ray when I joined the Club in late 80's, and we teamed up skiing on the holidays along with many other members. He was always good at organising groups, taking them around the areas on piste and later he did off piste tours in Klosters. Probably his greatest day was when we all went on the Vallee Blanche off-piste run down the Mer De Glace and Ray helped to organise the bus to take us from Flaine to Chamonix, also the two guides that were going to lead us safely down the glacier!
Ray used to go on virtually all the Ski Club holidays and along with Pat and Harry Ashworth, were the key pins! Whenever we arrived on a club holiday in the 3 valleys (Meribel or Courchevel) with the forecast of a week of clear blue sky, Ray would say on the first morning: "Lets get over to Val Thorens before the weather closes in". It never did of course!
On my first holiday with the Club, staying at the Tremplin Chalet in Meribel, ski races were always organised by holiday companies for the last day for anyone to compete in. Ray had been struck down with a tummy bug day before, but had dragged himself out to race! When he was midway through his run, the French commentator lady announced that "Ray was really leaving his mark on the course"!
He was a keen wind surfer and used to take his trailer of boards / sails all over England and Wales. When windsurfing with the Day's boys in Aberdovey, Elaine got swept up the estuary, we followed her to check she was alright, but when I shouted to him regarding the situation, Ray said "OK but I think I can get in one more run across"!!
He also had many off shore cruising trips and had his own 24ft sailing yacht on Windermere, where he also had a holiday home.
Ray was a keen hiker, and was at home in the hills, he loved his days out in Derbyshire.
He was also a keen dancer in both formal and modern jive/salsa.
I always picture Ray with his trailer of windsurfers, sails, masts, booms and various gear which were cobbled together over many years. When we got to water's edge, it was like doing a jigsaw puzzle working out which bits went where. At the end of the day, Ray would be still out on the water with his "inimitable bow-legged stance".
Ray and I had some great times together;
Whether it was hiking in the peak district with his beloved Sheltie dogs, skiing on Club Holidays, windsurfing in Aberdovey and Rhosneigre or sailing his cruising yacht on Windermere.
They broke the mould after Ray was made.
He gave me some great experiences and will be sorely missed!!