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Strictly in memory of Clerkenwell’s ‘Ray Ray’

Memorial bench unveiled in tribute to ‘life and soul of the party’

23 November, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Sarah Wray takes a turn around the room with Raymond Badger

RAYMOND Badger and his wife were some of the first residents to smell the fresh, new paint when Priory House in Clerkenwell opened their doors two decades ago.

He spent the last 20 years of his life entertaining and growing close to his fellow neighbours at the sheltered housing in Sans Walk. Now, a memorial bench is to be unveiled to pay tribute to the 89-year-old, who died earlier this year.

Sarah Wray, scheme manager, who fondly nicknamed him “Ray Ray” said: “He was very caring and such a thoughtful man. He was always joking and everybody knew he was the life and soul of the party. He was always in my office, I miss him so much.”

Mr Badger, whose first name was Charles but was known to most by his middle name, was born in South Yorkshire before moving to London.

He went on to have a career working for Christie’s Auctions and for sausage producer, Wall’s.

‘Ray Ray’ with his wife, Glenis

One of his greatest joys was dancing with his partner and wife Glenis.

“He did ballroom, jazz, the waltz and entered professional dancing competitions,” said Ms Wray.

“Whenever we went to any events, he would get up and everybody would join him on the dancefloor. He used to teach everybody to do ballroom dancing.”

In his later years, he helped to care for his wife who was diagnosed with dementia. Ms Wray said he helped look after her until “her last day” before she died in September 2013, aged 86. His younger sister, Phyllis Cox, who also lived at Priory House, died some years earlier.

Mr Badger died from multi-organ failure in May.

Thanks to money allocated by Clerkenwell councillors, they have been able to buy the bench in memory of the much-missed resident.

When it is unveiled in January it will sit in the garden, part of the 700-year Mercers’ Company, which has a network of almshouses and homes for the elderly as well as running schools across the country.

“He was never sitting down, he was always dancing,” she said. “Now it’s like he can sit down and rest with us. For the residents it’s ‘we will take a seat for you Ray, in memory of you’.

“To show he was such a larger than life person, we’ve got the biggest bench out there for him.”

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