In Memoriam - Ray Galloway

In Memoriam - Ray Galloway

image003

It is with the utmost sadness that I have to inform you of the passing of a club stalwart, life member and dearest friend Ray Galloway. Ray had been suffering with ill health and sadly lost his battle at home in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences go to his wife Jean and all the family.

Ray has been part of the fabric of the club for over 40 years and was one of the first people that welcomed me into the family over 20 years ago. Despite his health, he told me just a few weeks ago that he was looking forward to coming to East Court to see the pitch improvements and watch some football. I know I speak on behalf of the entire club when I say we will greatly miss our dear friend.

RiP Ray.

Richard Tramontin (Chairman)

A Tribute from Bruce Talbot (Richard's predecessor as Chairman)

DSC 0241

Ray Galloway’s death after a period of ill health marks the end of an era for the club.

Ray’s association with the Wasps stretched back more than 40 years. He was a regular at East Court during the days of the old covered terrace when his unofficial responsibility seemed to be to wind up the opposition manager, much to the amusement of his fellow supporters and, on occasion, even the subject of his caustic observations in the away dugout!

Peter Cadman, chairman at the time, asked Ray to come onto the committee in the late 1980s and for the next three decades he was never afraid to put his shoulder to the wheel.

In particular he loved working on the pitch and it was a good job that Ray wasn’t afraid of hard graft because in those days, with non-existent drainage and no means of irrigation, producing a good playing surface took a lot of dedication.

Ray persuaded Tony Brockbank and Geoff Harris to follow him from the terrace to the committee and work with Eric Dart to try and improve our modest facilities. Peter was still around and later Phil Cowlard joined the committee and in Ray found a kindred spirit as someone not afraid to get their hands dirty.

Most of their spare time was spent patching up the old clubhouse, building garages (Ray loved a garage) or working on the pitch. And when it was time for a cuppa and, in Ray’s case, a cigarette or two the stories would flow.Geoff - or Pikey as Ray so memorably nicknamed him - was usually the butt of the jokes. Occasionally, we felt sorry for Geoff but he gave as good as he got and, secretly, I think he enjoyed being the centre of attention. It made for great entertainment and the Saturday Morning Club, when we would gather early to get the pitch ready and prepare for the match, was often more enjoyable than the game which followed it. The piss-taking was merciless and Ray, who was a great mimic and joke teller, was at the centre of it. If you wanted a social history of the town of East Grinstead from the 1950s he was your man.

They were some of my happiest memories in my 35-year association with the club.

For years Ray was firework lighter in chief on Bonfire Night when 2,000 people would come to East Court and we would spend two hours counting the takings. Ray would organise the display and lead a group of us in setting off the fireworks. All by hand. For the first few years we didn’t even wear any safety gear. Occasionally a mis-firing firework strayed off its intended course. Pikey usually got the blame. Ray just laughed.

He was a very gregarious guy and kept the boiled sweet industry going for years, but I always found it surprising that as soon as the match was over he’d head straight home. He rarely socialised with the players - although they all knew who he was. I asked him why once. ‘Jean will have the tea ready for 5 and I don’t want to miss that.’

He was there for all the memorable games of that era when we won promotion or a cup final and those occasional successes made all the hard work seem worth it. He didn’t drink much but like the rest of us he supped heartily from the big silver trophy when we beat Three Bridges 4-1 in the RUR Cup in 2003.

During my time as chairman I think one of the hardest conversations I had was when Ray told me him and Jean were going to run a fish and chip shop on the Lincolnshire coast. Replacing all those hours he put proved impossible. When he called me a few years later to tell me he was coming back to live in the town it felt like we’d won the league.

Ray was still attending matches and helping out until last year. I think he got a little saddened when the club won promotion to the Isthmian League and almost overnight the local players in the team disappeared. But he still loved the club. He would operate the turnstile or sell draw tickets and we’d sometimes reminisce about Pikey and the laughs we used to have.

Ray and Jean were married for over 50 years and were a wonderful couple devoted to each other. It’s a terrible loss for Jean and their big family. But, like everyone at the club who knew him, they will only have fond memories of a genuine bloke who would do anything to help you.

He was part of the fabric of East Grinstead Town FC for so long and he loved being involved as much as we all loved him. Not a bad epitaph.

Rest in peace Ray.

Bruce Talbot.

 

Club News