Tributes follow bandsman Ray’s shock death in blaze
TRIBUTES has been paid to Ray Booth who died in a house fire.
The 85-year-old from Poynton was president of the Vernon Building Society (Poynton) Brass Band.
Mr Booth died on May 25 after a fire at his home on Coppice Road.
Paying tribute, former bandmate and friend Tom Peak, 72, said: “Ray was a very jolly, funny man who was always telling jokes and stories.
“He was very popular within the band and well known around Poynton.
“We are deeply shocked by what happened. When I think about Ray I smile, and that will help me through this different period.”
Mr Booth joined the band when he was 16 and played tenor horn for almost 40 years.
He was forced to retire from playing when he was diagnosed with macular degeneration and became a trustee and president.
Mr Booth continued to travel to the band’s competitions and concerts until last year when his health and mobility deteriorated.
Mr Peak added: “With Ray it was always band, band, band. When he had to stop playing he was gutted, but he was so committed to the band, exceptionally so, and did what he could right until his death.
“In recent months his health had prevented him getting out as much, and at Christmas the band visited his home to play for him.
“For many that will be their last memory of him.”
Mr Booth’s last known musical performance was with Macclesfield band The Purple Gang in the 2000s. During a charity concern he skipped on stage and played tambourine and earned the nickname ‘Rockin’ Ray’.
Chris Joe Beard from the band grew up near to Mr Booth, who was a friend of his parents.
He said: “He was such an encouragement to young musicians of any creed, instrument or genre. It’s very sad that one of Poynton’s great characters is gone.”
Mr Booth worked as a joiner for British Aerospace and was married to Mary, who died more than 20 years ago.
He was a keen bowler at Poynton Working Men’s Club.
Friend Nita Bentley said: “Ray was well known for taking his accordion to the club and could often be heard encourag- ing friends to join in on a sing-song.
“I have many fond memories of accompanying him to concerts around the country.”
Police and fire chiefs are investigating how the fire started.
●● Ray Booth, 85, died in a fire at his home in Poynton