IN MEMORIAM 5
FROM JOHN MACDONALD (Contd.)
By the end.
My nicest memory of Billy would be the last few days of the Tour. I spent three lovely days with him, when we talked and laughed for many hours.
After I returned to Sydney I rang Billy regularly to check on his health, and was sad to hear from him that his health was not improving but, as usual, in typical Billy style, he said “I am not going to go down without a fight!!!”
When the news of Billy’s passing reached me on the morning of 16th May 2013 it was a very sad day.
Billy, you will never leave our hearts. You did so much in your Showbiz career, and we are all proud of you. And, with the great work Linda has done on your website, Billy Raymond the Entertainer will be for all to see across the World for years to come.
RIP my friend. Hopefully we will meet up again one day for that “wee dram” together.
FROM BURNETT RIGG, London
I first met Billy Raymond (or Raymond Hubner, as I knew him) on January 6th 1959, his 21st birthday, at a party thrown for him in the Barshaw Cafe, Paisley. As a young journalist I had gone to interview him for a local paper, as the party coincided with him not only appearing on a national TV show, but also guest starring in ‘Cinderella’, a panto at the Paisley Theatre. When it came time for his theatre appearance he took a break from the party and I found myself as his guest, standing in the wings watching his spot.
This was to be the first of many backstage visits to Raymond at theatres up and down the country, a lot of them in Blackpool. He became compere of many pop star tours and it was through him that this pop music crazy reporter met many of his idols, like Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran. Although he moved to Australia, ours was a lifelong friendship (54 years) and, over the years, we always met up on his visits over here. I wasn’t to know that his trip to London and Glasgow in 2002 was to be his last. He always had a way of cheering people up with his humour and I shall miss him very much.
I was delighted when, in 2010, Raymond wrote about our association in his Blog, mentioning also our late mutual friend, BBC producer Ian Christie (see Billy’s Blog Archive 2010, Blog pages 11 & 12).