Tributes to 'true Roystonian' Ray - father, footballer and friend

Ray Easy with his sons Martyn and Scott at his beloved Garden Walk, the home of Royston Town FC

Ray Easy with his sons Martyn and Scott at his beloved Garden Walk, the home of Royston Town FC - Credit: Courtesy of Scott Easy

Tributes have been paid to family man, friend and former Royston Town FC goalie Ray Easy - who has passed away, aged 84.

Ray was born in Whaddon and moved to Green Street, Royston, with his parents when he was young.

Apart from a stint playing for Bassingbourn FC, he played in goal for 20 years with the Crows' first team and reserves during the 1950s and '60s.

His eldest son Martyn has spoken about his dad's life, and his love of the Garden Walk club. 

The 60-year-old told the Crow: "Dad was a funny man and a very lovely man. He loved Royston and he loved playing for Royston Town Football Club."

"He just wanted to play for Royston. I remember going as a kid with him, climbing over fences 50-odd years ago on match day. 

Ray Easy (back row, 3rd from left) – Royston Town Reserves 1968/9

Ray Easy (back row, 3rd from left) – Royston Town Reserves 1968/9 - Credit: Courtesy of RTFC

"There was no money in it then - they weren't paid. They're semi-professional now, but back then they simply played for the love of Royston Town Football Club."

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Prior to completing National Service, Ray did several jobs alongside Derek Noades - the pair were the "biggest of buddies" and were always together - when one left one job the other followed, according to Martyn. 

Following a stint in the RAF when he was 18, Ray returned to Royston. He worked in the warehouse at Sainsbury's in Buntingford for 30 years. 

Ray married Rita in 1961 and as well as Martyn, they had daughters - Lorraine and Nicola - and son, Scott. 

"He lived for his family. He was a big family man," said Martyn. 

"He never pushed us - he was just so proud of everything we did. Scott played for Royston Town Rugby Club, and still does, and dad was extremely proud. 

Ray in the Royston Crow newspaper from January 2001

Ray in the Royston Crow newspaper from January 2001 - Credit: Supplied

"He was always laughing and joking, he was such a bubbly character and a very funny man.

"He loved it here. He only left when he was in the RAF and he came back here after that. After he retired he didn't want to move anywhere else.

"He wanted to be around his family - once he had his family he was a happy man. He adored his children and his four grandchildren.

"He was a pal, a friend to all - he was hugely popular in the community. I'm not just saying it because he was my dad - we have so many cards flooding in now saying what a lovely man he was. 

Ray in the Royston Crow newspaper from January 2001

Ray with all of his children and grandchildren - Credit: Supplied

Ray passed away on June 29. His funeral will be attended by close family due to COVID restrictions, but Martyn said there would be hundreds of people who'd want to come.

The family hasn't set a venue for afterwards, but Martyn said they are looking to get somewhere to accommodate 100 people should the easing of restrictions allow.

 Ray said it's likely there would be an even bigger celebration of his dad's life further down the line. 

"He was a true Roystonian. He was so happy with what he had - his family, living the town and playing for Royston," Martyn added.

Alan Barlow is the president of Royston Town Football Club.

In a statement on the club's website, Alan said: "It is with great sadness that the club has learned of the passing of Ray Easy who died very suddenly last week at the age of 84.

"Ray kept goal for the Crows for over 20 years during the 1950s and 1960s.

Ray and Rita on their wedding day

Ray and Rita on their wedding day - Credit: Supplied

"Ray was a local lad,, and for most of his working life was with Sainsbury’s. During his days playing for Royston Town, his best team buddies were Derek Noades and Larry Dale.

"After his playing days came to an end, Ray continued to support the Crows and could often be found at Garden Walk on a Saturday afternoon.

"He was never one to put himself in the limelight, instead, preferring to conduct his life in a quiet and measured way that earned the respect of all of those who knew him.

Ray with his dog Nipper

Ray with his dog Nipper - Credit: Supplied

"Everyone at Royston Town Football Club sends their deepest condolences to all of his family and friends. RIP Ray."