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Ray Pursey obituary


16 July 1936-31 May 2017

This obituary is based on the eulogy, with some additions, delivered by John Evans of the Croydon Welsh Society at Ray’s funeral in Eastbourne on 16 June 2017.

Ray came from Blaenavon in South Wales. He was a true Welshman – as we say in Welsh, 'Cumro i'r Carn', a Welshman to his core.   He loved being Welsh and felt that being Welsh was a privilege. He loved the culture, the traditions, the language, the sport – anything to do with Wales.

Ray in 2008

Ray first worked in a tin processing plant where he lost a finger in an accident.  He next worked as a lorry and coach driver, later starting his own coach company.   Then he turned to selling insurance, but was still driving coaches to the age of 70.

He was a keen supporter of the Welsh rugby team and spoke about rugby with great passion and considerable knowledge.  He had a strong interest in football too.  He played until he was 50 and coached the local youngsters as well. His interest in music and his good singing voice led him to join  Croydon Male Voice Choir  in 2004, and since then he always made new members feel very welcome.   He stayed in the choir until he and his wife Jan decided to move to Eastbourne, largely for the sake of Ray’s health, in 2015.

Ray enjoyed compiling quizzes and for many years arranged the annual quiz for the Croydon Welsh Society.  He had the knack of compiling questions that were testing, and left you feeling that if you did not know the answer, you should. He conducted the quizzes in his own inimitable way, ably supported by Jan, and together they made an excellent team.

Comments on the many cards of condolence focussed on his great sense of humour, his ready smile and the twinkle in his eye when he teased or told a joke. There were many references to his good nature and his kindness and, as someone wrote: “A genuine down-to-earth person".

Ray showed a strong interest in the RNLI and had great admiration for the volunteers who go out in all weathers, and he truly believed in the institution.  He was instrumental in raising a large amount of money for the Welsh Memorial in Flanders which commemorates the Welsh Soldiers who died in World War One. It includes a magnificent representation of a Welsh dragon on a plinth of Welsh slate. Jan and Ray attended the unveiling ceremony in 2014 .

Ray was a true friend who was very supportive and professional in all he did. Despite not enjoying good health, he retained a great spirit and showed great courage and fortitude.  We remember a life full of kindness and laughter which exemplified the human spirit at its best.

Ray’s funeral in Eastbourne was attended by a large company of family and friends, including his two sons by his first marriage.  The CMVC was represented by Mike Lane, Roger Lee, Dick Diplock and Neville Clark, who led the hymns and the singing at the wake afterwards.   Mike Lane commented:  “It was a good send-off.  Ray would have liked that.”


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