Those Early Years
(Extracts from a letter by Mr. Cokes)
We see Ray from time to time and hear from him on the telephone in the meantime. Ray was born on the Isle of Wight whilst I was away at sea. I've always been told that when I first saw him I completely ignored him!! Signs of things to come? Ray spent most of his young life travelling the world as my postings within the Royal Navy moved me around from the Isle of Wight to the Ipswich area and then various places such as the Portsmouth area, South Africa (Cape Town), back to Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight, Northern Island, Fareham, Mauritius and finally Gosport. Ray started school in South Africa at a convent school in St. James on the Cape Peninsula. I will always remember him querying why his teachers always wore night dresses (nuns!). We feel sure he got his love for barbecues in his young days in the Cape. He was always keen to be around the barbecue fire waiting for his chops or sausages.
Mauritius was where he learned to swim, we used to spend every Sunday on the beach and he was always in the water -with his fins and mask. Our return from Mauritius saw the start of a settled education which ended at Brune Park School. Never academically inclined in those days ray's best subjects were cooking and French, and he excelled at both. He decided not to stay for 'A' levels and left to go into cooking: to which end he started his training at the Hotel Metropole in Brighton. A couple of moves later he came to us and asked if we could lend him £75, as he needed his fare to Brussels, where he had been offered a job in the Hard Rock cafe. One thing let to another and he left cooking when he started to work in a record shop. From there it was Music Box, and the rest as they say, is history'.
Like his brother Mark and his two sisters, Penny and Debbie, Ray is one of a close knit family. All four of them keep in touch and are always ready to help each other out. What the future holds for Ray is uncertain. You probably know as much as I do. His current radio programme appears to be successful, but what comes next is anybody's guess.
Best Wishes to all
Published in Most Wanted Friends (Issue 12 - Winter '96)