A LOVING grandfather and former chairman of the Conservative Party, Ray Bowdery, has died, aged 86
He had headed the party, locally, for about a decade after retiring to his home in East Preston, in 1985, with his wife Beryl.
He even played a role in selecting the current MP for Worthing West, Sir Peter Bottomley – who attended his funeral.
Ray’s role covered the party initially from Rustington, right the way to Shoreham before the borders were reshuffled.
Despite taking an early retirement from the British Oxygen Company (BOC), Ray was still a hard worker and was committed to helping others.
One of the first tasks he helped with, once moving to the village, was to join the Meals on Wheels service, which delivered vital food to the elderly and disabled.
Describing him, his son Robert said: “Ray’s family will always remember him for his kindness, his generosity and his great sense of fun. He will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by all who knew him.”
Ray was born on January 13, 1928, one of eight children, to Albert and Emily Bowdery, in Southwark.
He died last month at St Barnabas House Hospice, in Goring, with his funeral held at the Muntham Chapel at Worthing Crematorium, on December 19.
Ray and Beryl were well known for arranging many successful fundraising events at the Conservative Hall in East Preston, from Burns Nights and Christmas fairs to Hallowe’en events, quiz nights and jumble sales.
Ever thoughtful, they arranged transport to allow elderly members to attend these occasions.
Ray loved to play a central part in the community. For a time, he was a governor at Rustington’s Georgian Gardens Primary School, a member of the Willowhayne Estate Residents’ Committee, an Arun district councillor and a member of the Littlehampton Harbour Board.
Spanning over 30 years, Ray’s previous career with BOC was highly varied.
He joined as a chemical engineer and worked on fuel systems for the Blue Streak space rocket programme before becoming an international sales manager and then a senior executive.
He leaves his loving wife, Beryl, as well as four children – John, Martin, Robert and Claire – and 12 grandchildren.