It is with great sadness that I record the death of my husband, Ray Girvan, whom many of you have known for some time. Ray and I joined Exeter Writers in about 1998, but he soon decided that, as a technical rather than a literary writer, the group wasn’t really for him and left. He remained a presence in the group, however, coming to social occasions and managing the website, which he did for several years until he became too ill to continue.
Ray was a remarkable man; whatever he turned his hand to, he could do. He was a scientist, a mathematician, a writer (some years ago, he amassed quite a fan following for his erotic fiction, written under the name Thomas Gomez!), a website wizard, a cook, a geologist, a researcher, a fixer, a musician (visit to see him in action), a collector, a hilarious wit and general know-all. His biography of Maxwell Gray, an authoress who lived on the Isle of Wight at the turn of the century, is published by Wren Publishing.
He was a kind man, fond of animals, generous and thoughtful, and willing to put himself out for other people. He had a temper, but it was quickly over. He was like Mr Darcy in that his good opinion, once lost, was lost for ever, but he could also forgive.

Had it not been for a cough that wouldn’t go away, Ray might not have discovered the cancer until it was too late. He was sent for tests and a scan that showed the cancerous nodes on his lungs shining green like the evil little parasites they were. He would sometimes say that the cancer had hit him just when he was at the height of his powers, and he was right.  For a non-smoker, it was also dreadfully unfair.

He was my adviser and best friend; everything, even going to the local shop, was a small adventure and his curiosity was boundless. His death at fifty nine was too tragically soon and he will be greatly missed by those of us who knew and loved him.

Clare Girvan


Anonymous said…
Hi clair it's Richards daughter gemma. I just wanted to say sorry for you loss. Thinking of you x
Alex said…
Hey Clare. Really sorry to hear that Ray isn’t with us any more. I was just looking at Topsham on the Internet and remembered Ray and his wonderful website. I was one of the students from the university of Exeter... you allowed me and my friends from University Radio Exeter (FM 87.7 Xpresssion) to drag Ray out onto our Topsham 10 pub crawl after we found his website on the Internet and started asking random people in Topsham where he lived. We eventually tracked him down, following a clue from somebody in a local shop... and then we ended-up knocking on your door. I remember you answering the door, a little bit baffled, but not completely unsurprised! This would have been around the turn of the millennium, I guess. We only had the chance to get to know him for a few hours, but he dived headfirst right into our student banter, and left a memorable impression on all of us. He had a wonderful generous and warm spirit, and it will always be with you, every time the warm sun peaks through the clouds, and shines over Topsham.

Best wishes - Alex and friends
ClareG said…
Hi, Alex,
Thank you so much for your kind remarks about Ray. I vaguely remember the occasion - were you the guys who couldn't get anything to eat at that time of night? He was indeed a lovely and remarkable man and I still miss him every day. I'm glad you too have happy memories of him.
Adam said…
Hi Clare,

Can I just say how sad I was to hear of your husbands death. I have read his blog many times, especially around the area of Blackgang Chine for which I share the same interest, and was always fascinated by his writing - and would often click on other posts at random and be captivated. I just noticed tonight he stopped blogging in 2015 and then discovered your post.

As you will no doubt know, many complete strangers like me have been greatly touched and intrigued by your husbands writing. I You are very lucky to have been married to such a man.

With best wishes,

Adam Jones
Anonymous said…
Hi Clare

I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I knew Ray at school in Gosport. Although he was a couple of years older than me, we became friends during a school trip to Switzerland around 1972 where his knowledge of German was invaluable. One particular episode I recall was him dropping his wallet when we were on a chairlift and having to get off pretty smartly to go back and collect it which fortunately he was able to do. Happy memories.

Best wishes

Peter Blake
ClareG said…
Hi, Adam and Peter.
I've only just come across your kind remarks about Ray. Hard to believe it's been five and a half years. Since then, several people have emerged with something to say, which is always welcome. I even had a letter from Storm Constantine, who you may have heard of, asking if she could include one of his stories in an anthology she was producing. He would have been so gratified, as am I.
FYI, Adam, noting your interest in Blackgang Chine, I went down to scatter his ashes on Gore Cliff, as he wanted, on his deathday in 2017. His whole family was there and it was a pleasanter occasion than you might expect.
It was a privilege to have been married to him and although I have moved forward since then, he will never be forgotten. Good to know that other people still remember him too. Thank you.