A POPULAR community figure who regularly donned the Santa suit to bring Christmas joy has been remembered.
After a long fight with cancer, Broughton and Bretton community councillor Ray Gregory has died, aged 73.
Cllr Gregory served as a community councillor for 10 years, having moved to Broughton with his family after leaving the RAF in 1971.
Irene Gregory said her husband had loved being a part of the community and would be remembered for dressing up as Father Christmas and delivering stockings to senior citizens.
A lifelong fisherman, he was also well known for sharing his caught trout around the neighbourhood.
He was similarly generous with his bacon bone and pea soup and curries which he used to deliver door-to-door.
Fellow community councillor and county member for Broughton councillor Billy Mullin said the council had lost a much-valued member.
“He was my eyes and ears,” he said. “He picked up on whatever the concerns were and he had the canny knack to gain the respect of young kids.
“I’ve spoken to guys of at least 40 who remembered Ray talking to them as youngsters. He won them over.
“And he made sure people living in Broughton were safe and things were up to standard.
“He didn’t have any hesitation in standing up and saying if he thought things were not quite right.
“We’ve lost a great member – a guy who had great community values and someone I relied on.”
The eldest of four brothers, Mr Gregory was born in Chester in 1941 and grew up in Saltney attending Wood Memorial Primary School and St David’s High School.
After a short spell on the railways at Mold Junction, he joined the RAF in 1959 and during his 12 years service as a ground electrician, was posted to Aden in Saudi Arabia for 18 months and RAF Cosford in the Midlands.
After the RAF, he worked in Queensferry for a short time before moving to Shellstar in Ellesmere Port where he stayed for 20 years.
Mrs Gregory said her husband of 53 years was liked by everyone.
“He always had a smile on his face,” she said.
The couple’s eldest daughter Jeanette Tyson described her father as “very loving, very kind and thoughtful”.
“He lived for his family and had a great sense of humour and whatever he could do, he did for the community,” she said.
“He was 73 when he died, but he was a young 73.”
Tributes that have flooded in since Cllr Gregory’s death last month included one from family friend Judith Smith, who wrote: “Ray didn’t waste one minute of his life.
“He was an amazing man and crammed so much in. He will be sorely missed.”
As well as Irene, Cllr Gregory leaves close family including three sons, three daughters, nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.