Updated: Sep 14
Our former player, Club Secretary, Chairman, umpire and life-long supporter Ray Cooper sadly passed away this morning. He was 75.
Until a few months ago Ray was still a regular visitor to Hylands. His health deteriorated quickly over the summer and after a short illness he died peacefully at home with his wife Pam and their four children.
Ray joined Athletic in the early 1980s and soon proved himself an excellent seam bowler and lower order batsman. He was also second XI captain. Ray retired from playing quite young and took on several administrative jobs at the club including as Club Secretary of the cricket and sports clubs. He served as Sports Club Chairman from 1993-1996. Later in life he took up umpiring and was a regular official in our first team games in the early 2000s.
Ray’s wife Pam is Linda Crane’s sister and it was Ray who first got the Crane family involved at the club when he suggested that Paul and Ian might like to join our colts.
Ray originally came from the west Midlands and was a lifelong Aston Villa fan He was a police officer specialising as a dog handler. He also worked on the protection team at Buckingham Palace. After retiring Ray took on voluntary work as an advocate for vulnerable adults with mental health issues as well as other charity work.
Ray was always a great supporter of Athletic and was a regular visitor to the club on Saturdays often with John Hutchison. He also supported the club financially for many years.
A fount of knowledge on all sorts of subjects, a demon quiz team member and a real lover of cricket, Warm and friendly to everyone, Ray was one of life’s true good guys. He will be hugely missed.
Our condolences go to Pam and to the children. Our thoughts also go to all the Crane Family and to John Hutchison and John Thomas, his close friends at the Club.
Ray's funeral will be on Wednesday 22nd September at 12.00 at Upminster Crematorium RM14 2UY.