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Old 7th Dec 2005, 11:26
  #111 (permalink)  
atb1943
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Frankfurt
Posts: 295
I'd like to add my humble tribute to Ray.

I've been privileged to fly to Duxford on a number of occasions in various aircraft, including JPs and a Strikemaster. It was after a typically exhiliarating run and break in the latter that I got to talk to Ray and Mark at length, because my pilot had business with them. It was great to have a coffee with them in the Legend's office and just chat, although they were both as busy as usual. Ray even washed me a mug clean . I started to tell Ray what I was involved in, and he said simply, with a twinkle in his eye, 'I know who you are, I'm one of your biggest customers!' Then he told me about his involvement in the Lowa Ltd B707, which, of course, had a worldwide set of charts on board. His memory was sharp, because I had been introduced to him only briefly at a Legends show a year or more before. I was really chuffed. Since then I've bumped into Ray twice, both at Biggin Hill, in 2001 when I flew over in JU-52, and this year as one of the sponsors of the pilots' marquee.

Ray effused a quiet professionalism on the ground, but in the air - wow! What was it about his particular presentation - quick, aggressive, absolutely beautiful!

I will never ever forget his performance at Duxford against a raincloud-filled sky when he celebrated MH434's 60th birthday. Ray just seemed to enjoy giving us enjoyment and knew what to add to his display to make you absolutely gobsmacked.

Ray's final fling at Biggin on that Sunday evening in his beloved Spitfire to the wonderful text presented in such a fine manner by the guest American commentator, was beyond belief. Ray suddenly disappeared into the valley, only to pop up over the trees and shoot into the sky, the Spitfire sillhouetted against a lovely September sky. I looked around, there was not a dry eye to be seen, no embarrassement either, was it not a just reason to show emotion!

Thank you Ray, thank you all. To Ray's family and friends, my deepest condolences at your sad loss.

I took a photo of Ray taking in Simon Ames' briefing. I thought you'd like to see it.

Best wishes,

atb


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