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NEWS > Obituaries > Ray Hubbard 1933–2020

Ray Hubbard 1933–2020

Dad was born in Rushcutter Bay in Australia on 24th February 1933 as his parents were on their way to the Solomon Islands where our grandfather had a position as a judge. 
16 Feb 2023
Obituaries

Dad was born in Rushcutter Bay in Australia on 24th February 1933 as his parents were on their way to the Solomon Islands where our grandfather had a position as a judge. 

He moved on with his parents from the Solomon Islands to the Middle East where he spent much of his childhood. Dad’s sister Ann completed their family. Once he was old enough he was sent to join Mill Hill School as this was where his father and Uncle had been educated. At that time Mill Hill School was at St Bees in Cumbria so Dad spent a short time there before moving down to Mill Hill when the school returned after the war. This was the beginning of his lifelong connection to Mill Hill School, very much a second family to him where he made many friends. He, Don Allen and Ronnie Jones were great friends 
‘the 3 Amigos’. 

At 18 he left school and tried a variety of different jobs before settling down in the drinks trade. He and his colleagues used to travel to France to try out different wines so that they could inform their clients on the best ones to purchase. Everyone will remember the excellent wines that he provided for all the different events he was associated with. Dad met Mum (Dorothy) at the age of 21 at a dance at Wembley Town Hall, one which Mum and her friend were encouraged to go to by their landlady. They married and this was the start of their 65 year partnership. They moved to Mill Hill after Dad finished his National Service and recovered from a broken leg – a rugby injury – with Sue their baby daughter. Ann and then Caroline completed the family.

Mum and Dad became involved with St Pauls Church, where Dad had been confirmed as a Mill Hill School pupil, the other churches having been dismissed after being doctored by Mum. Together they helped to run and organise many different events over their 65 year association with the church. 

Dad continued to play rugby as a ‘fearless’ wing forward, the Old Boy teams being in their heyday at this time with a number of England Internationals. Apparently this team mainly comprised players from the unbeaten school XV of 50/51. He played rugby, water polo and swam against the school; according to one of the boys he competed against ‘he had a demon speed at breaststroke and was a dab hand at water polo’. He survived a horrendous accident at the bottom of Wills Grove, the bottom lamppost on the left being labelled by us as ‘dad’s lamppost’. Dad played rugby for a while afterwards and then took up refereeing and we have fond memories of afternoons at Headstone Lane while mum had a well-deserved break at home.

Dad was a devoted OM, heavily involved with all aspects of Mill Hill School and the OMs associations. He organised many successful events with Mum’s help, always being one of the first to arrive and the last to leave. Dad played an active role in the management of Alford House for 25 years. He served on the OM’s Club Executive Committee and particularly enjoyed his year as President (2000-2001), attending various social events abroad and at home. 

Dad really enjoyed rugby and contributed much to the activities of the rugby club over the years, encouraging participation from the Colts upwards. He and Mum enjoyed rugby tours with the school all over the world from South America to Torquay, making friends with many of the parents of pupils at the school. Dad was an active member of the OM’s Lodge and he practised the principles of masonry - brotherly love, belief and truth throughout his life.

He was a school governor of a local primary school, totally committed to his role in supporting the pupils and staff. Dad was a wonderful father to us, his three girls. After masterminding three outstanding weddings he welcomed his son in laws into the family and the boys remember many wonderful dinners and other events that Dad invited them to. He was a great father in law with a wicked sense of humour; Huw recalling that over a period of about 30 years whenever he phoned and said it was Huw Dad always replied Who! The whole family remember the wonderful Sunday dinners at Parkside.

Once we left home Dad and Mum travelled to many places including Egypt to revisit Dad’s childhood places, Canada to visit his sister’s family, Switzerland to visit his mother’s family, Australia to renew his Australian passport!, New Zealand and a cruise to Alaska.
He was the best grandad to Sian, Gareth, Owen, Mari and Rhys getting involved in all aspects of their lives. He was also great grandad to Evie, Lily and Amelie who he enjoyed watching play. 

Comments from cards and letters Mum received sum Dad up: kind, humorous, caring, generous with an overwhelming willingness to help others and an amazing friend. As a family we have so many memories of Dad including: the black cat brought home from a warehouse he visited, the rabbit he found on the A41 on the way home one night which we found in the bath the following morning and the stories he told of his younger days. One which Ann remembers in particular was of Dad’s inaugural solo flight as a qualified pilot after leaving school. He got lost, landed at an airfield somewhere, having no money on him he persuaded someone to give him fuel and directions to fly home. These included following the railway track!

Dad survived invasive prostate cancer treatment and carried on life as normally as possible with Mum and the families support. Dementia took a lot of Dad away towards the end but he was still as always a family man, remembering all his family and enjoying the sounds of his great grandchildren playing. 

We will all miss him and never forget him for the fantastic man he was.
Sue, Ann and Caroline.

 

MEMORIES OF RAY

Ray was a great friend to me, as you know, we became very close during the heyday of the Mill Hill School Rugby Football Social Club. I first met him at Headstone Lane in 1982, shortly after I arrived at Mill Hill, he was organising an OMs Colts game with Jim Kent. I requested some help in hosting a team that was coming over from Agen in France and he immediately offered. In the end we held a memorable dinner in the St Paul’s church hall. The way that Ray offered to help and then contributed so much time and effort to the successful hosting of the boys from France was so typical of him.

I always thought it was quite remarkable that he was prepared to spend so much time and indeed money supporting the school, in particular the rugby, despite the fact he didn’t have children there. All the other parents, who helped, had boys at the school and therefore a vested interest in our fundraising. His tireless efforts, ordering and unloading wine and glasses, shifting barbecues and working hard at events was quite remarkable.

At school Ray was an outstanding rugby player and swimmer, he immediately joined the OMRFC after leaving school and was a leading player during one of the Club’s most successful periods in the 50’s. Ray became a devoted Old Millhillian, his service to the Club was quite outstanding, culminating in his year as President, which I know he greatly enjoyed. 
His service to the Management Committee, Alford House, The Lodge and the rugby club in particular was exceptional. He clearly loved his time at the School and was determined to support the old boys in so many ways. He was the leading contributor to the activities of the Club of his generation.

Ray and Dorothy were a great couple, she supported him in all OM activities and they made many friends in the Millhillian community, regularly attending the Annual Dinner and joining the European Tours. They were great friends to so many, 
they were a special couple.It was a great shame that Ray became so unwell in his later years, he bravely fought his illness with his usual stoicism and fortitude.

I shall treasure many happy memories, enjoying his company on so many memorable occasions at Headstone Lane, Mill Hill, OM dinners and indeed on tours all over the world from South America to Torquay!

Chris Kelly Mill Hill Master 1981-1993 

 

Ray was a wonderful man whom I got to know through rugby (Ray and Dorothy introduces me as a colt to OMs rugby and came as supporters on my three crazy OM Easter tours 10 years later too) and then as a fellow governor of Alford House.

Eddie Pratt, Collinson House 1979-1982)

 

I remember a conversation between Ray Hubbard and a boy in my dormitory. The boy had been caught talking after lights out. He begged Hubbard not to punish him, on the grounds that he very rarely broke the rules and there were many boys who offended more often. Hubbard explained that he had great sympathy for the wrongdoer and would dearly love to have overlooked the incident. But that it was his bounden duty as a House Prefect to report wrongdoers and to avoid giving grounds for accusations of partiality. It was the most civilised conversation I ever heard between a prefect and a culprit.

David Butler, Scrutton 1948 -54

 

I don’t think there are enough words to describe his contribution to rugby both at School or OM. The MHRSC organised and fundraised for school rugby tours, and Ray with Tony Smith helped Chris Kelly on many occasions. Ray ran the OM Colts for decades, hence being the close liaison between the OMRFC and MHS Rugby. I recall my first match as a sixth former, playing for the Colts on a Sunday at HL. Ray always on hand with clean kit, medical bag and the water on the side-lines. He always made sure we had everything to hand, and Dorothy was like our adopted Aunt! 

Of course this was in hand with the Smiths too, but Ray led from the front. Never forget a match against Feltham Young Offenders at their ground which was basically within the prison walls. An uneasy match with many outbreaks of fights, but Ray looked after us in his usual way. He also took me on my first ever tour, at Easter down to Weston-Super-Mare/Taunton. Travelling with the OM was of course a treat, but as a schoolboy Colt it was daunting but, like many others, I remember him buying our first beer on tour. 
He really was an incredible person, never gave up on the cats and raised money to ensure we have new kit every season. Stood on the side-line in the pouring rain, as if we were all his adopted sons, shouting and supporting from the side-lines. My story isn’t unique, he was a mentor to many of us and will be sadly missed as the gentle, caring individual mentor he was for many of us. 

Noyan Nihat, Collinson 1982-87

 

My memories of Ray date back to the time of the MHS Rugby Football Social Club during the 1980’s and early 90’s. Ray and Dorothy were immensely active at all of our fund-raising events including BBQ’s, Race Nights, Curry Lunches. They were first to arrive for the set up and, more often than not, last leave 
at the end. Ray was our “go to” man for the wine for all our events. Along with the likes of Ann and Tony Smith, Ron and Ros Morgan, Jim and Jill Kent and of course staff members like Chris Kelly and Tim Dingle, they were part of an immensely successful fund raising operation for rugby tours and, latterly, cricket and other sports tours. They were loyal and committed members of St Paul’s Church on the Ridgeway.

David Woodrow, MHS Master

 

Ray’s commitment to OM and school rugby, the OM Lodge, the Foundation and the OM Community at large is legendary. As many note above, his lovely wife Dorothy was also an active supporter of all his initiatives, as has been his son-in-law, Huw Richards, who on numerous occasions has arranged for gifts and the President’s Chain to be elegantly engraved. Ray was fun to be with and generous with his spirit as well as his time. I am sure all Past Presidents and current and former members of the Club Management Committee join with me in recognizing his significant contribution to our welfare and enjoyment. We will miss him.

Peter Wakeham, Chair, Old Millhillians Club

 

Ray was an outstanding rugby player and I still have an OMRFC, Headstone Lane, Rugby Programme, dated March 1954, which shows the OMs team list and includes Ray and myself.

Rodney Haynes

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