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Ray is one of two local heroes in the April 2023 edition of News for You, our newsletter for people living in aged care homes.
Ray was nominated for bringing the joy of country music to fellow residents in Forbes NSW.
Ray’s brothers taught him to play the guitar when he was 9 or 10. Now 92, he has more than eight decades of entertaining under his belt.
After moving to Forbes to raise his family, Ray worked hard as a builder to put food on the table.
‘But I always loved music and kept on playing the guitar,’ he says.
While he worked hard, Ray has also spent a lifetime playing hard.
‘For more than 40 years, I was in a country and western band called Country Varieties. We travelled all over the Forbes area playing in clubs, weddings, funerals, parties and festivals.’
After suffering a stroke, Ray moved into an aged care home.
‘After I recovered and got mobile again, I asked my daughter to bring my guitar here.’
Ray’s old bandmate Paddy Malloy, was already living in the home.
Staff say they often take advantage of their adjacent rooms to reminisce about their time in the band.
When he’s not recalling his days gigging around Forbes, Ray is gigging around his aged care home.
‘I’ll sit in the hallway and play five or six songs, then I’ll move on and sit somewhere else so people who can’t get out and about can have some entertainment.
‘Sometimes I’ll sing for an hour or two in the dining room to entertain everyone.’