Tributes fol­low bands­man Ray’s shock death in blaze

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

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

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