Wed 16 Sep 2020 09:18

Ray was born March 1934 in Glasney Place, Penryn. He attended Wellington Terrace School and Falmouth Grammar School. His interest in Rugby was encouraged by Jackie Searle a master at Falmouth Grammar School with team mates, Roger Hosen, John Cobner and Paul Williams who all went on to have a major impact on Penryn Rugby.

Ray made his First Team debut in 1950 at the age of 16 and played over 500 games for the First XV. He captained the Club in 1955/56 and 1956/57. At this time he made several appearances for Cornwall with his main competitors being Peter Michell from Penzance and Roy Harris from Redruth. His Penryn career was interrupted in 1961 when working and living in Exeter, during which time he had one season with Exeter and one with Torquay Athletic. His return to Penryn in 1963 was short lived when he suffered a knee injury midway through the season. Living and working in Newquay at that time he duly joined the Hornets when his knee had recovered, playing for them with distinction for four seasons, two as captain.

Work promotions took him first to Plymouth and then Cardiff, playing for Plymouth Argaum and Glamorgan Wanderers, respectively. It was in Wales when Ray launched his Refereeing career, in 1973.

He then had another work promotion to Bristol where he joined the Bristol Referee Society and became Chairman. Ed Morrison World Cup Final Referee made the following comment after hearing of Ray’s passing:

‘We held Ray with the highest regard. I first met him when I became Captain of Quins and instantly took a liking to his management of games. He was also remarkably sociable in the bar post match and became one of the Society’s most popular Referees. He just happened to be Chairman of the Society when I joined and was totally supportive with my own personal development. We kept in touch over the years and it is with particular sadness our paths will not cross again.’

Ray returned to Cornwall in the mid 1980’s and whilst continuing his refereeing now with CRRS, joined the Penryn Committee. The Chairman at the time asked Ray (who was a Bank Manager) if he would get involved as the Club was in deep financial trouble, having overspent on the Club extension. Ray managed through his contacts to get a builder to buy a plot of land (Regans Court) and with the help of Robert Jackson and the Committee managed to clear the debt.

In the late 1980’s he joined Cornwall RFU and was Treasurer from 1986-1998. Perhaps his greatest achievement was being able to send the RFU a cheque in excess of £100,000 as proceeds from the Cornish proportion for the 1991 County Final at Twickenham. Also at this time he went on to represent Cornwall on the RFU, a post he held from 1995-2002 and on his retirement became a Privileged member of the RFU.

Ray then returned to the Penryn Committee and became President in 2002-2006. His greatest delight during this time was driving the Mini Bus for the First XV on long away trips. Also at this time he became a staunch member of the Tuesday Gang with special responsibilities for the First Aid Room, The Referees room and all the Players latrines. He also ran the Club Lottery and was responsible for the Players insurance.

Ray became a Life Member of Penryn in 2017 and retired from the Committee due to the ill health of his wife Frances – who herself had been an active member of the Penryn Supporters Club in the 1950’s. However, he was still a strong supporter of Penryn and still attended all home games.

Club Chairman Steve ‘Marf’ Long said “To me Ray Plummer was as knowledgeable about the game of rugby as you can get. He always commanded your attention and respect, he was forthright and upfront. He was never happier than when he was watching the 'Borough' put in a good performance and getting a good win, be it at home or on the road where Ray and myself drove a mini bus each quite literally thousands of miles in the old SW1 League. All the boys thought the world of Ray and him and the boys in his bus used to have a right old time with his tales as we were going to such places as Oxford and Maidenhead, Basingstoke, to name a few.

Ray will be greatly missed by all who knew him you only had to look at the tributes that came in on our website to see how much he was respected and the word that kept on coming up was GENTLEMAN. He was certainly that. He will be missed around the ground with his knowledge of the game both as an outstanding player and referee.

I once had an international ticket from Ray at the last minute as he couldn't go and as I was short of a ticket, I duly took my place in 'Rays' seat and waited to see who was in the vacant seats. Lo and behold up came Mickey Steele Bodger of Barbarians Fame, who proceeded to have a right old chin wag with me, so much so I missed most of the rugby! I reckon to this day that Ray knew he would be there and he wouldn't see much of the match and was better off watching on the TV! God bless you Ray and no doubt you will be sat with all the rugby men who have gone before you. Thank you for all you have given to Penryn RFC and rugby in the Duchy of Cornwall.

Ray is succeeded by his two sons Mark and Keith and his brother Ken.