A tribute to Ray Galatola from the Chairman of the Blackburn Empire

It is with great sadness that we have to report the death of one of our most popular volunteers Ray Galatola, who passed away on Wednesday the 16th of May

Ray did many things to help the Empire Theatre including IT control, front of house duties, bar duties and many other things too.

He was a quiet individual, who was totally reliable and skilful in everything that he did for us. He was unassuming and he was a perfect gentleman.

He has suffered with his health during the last months, but not once did he complain about his illness. His attitude always remained positive to his friends.

He took the news of his terminal illness in the most amazing fashion and in the last few weeks told me that he could accept the outcome and that he was, firstly, so proud of his family and also so grateful for the friendships he had formed here at the Theatre and I am sure at other places that his work took him.

At one of the visits I made to the hospice, he discussed openly that he wanted the wake to be at the Theatre, it was a most moving moment, but Ray was definite in his proposal and actually offered me a tissue, he had spotted my need. That is how strong his conviction was and how he thought of others.

I was privileged to know Ray in a business sense before he came to join us at the Theatre and in all that time he conducted himself so well.

He loved the Theatre and he loved the people, the people loved him too. We must now concentrate on the happy times we had with him.

God bless you Ray.

Michael Berry