You'll Never Walk Alone…
Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp made the day for one special fan this week when he sent a personally signed card to Runcorn resident Raymond Gandy to mark his 90th birthday.
Raymond, who was born in Dukesfield and has lived in Runcorn all his life, now resides in Higher Runcorn. For years the Analytical Laboratory Chemist worked for ICI, firstly at Castner Kellner and latterly at ICIs former chemicals HQ at The Heath today the home of The Heath Business and Technical Park, owned by SOG Group.
Raymond retired from ICI in 1984. These days he is often found lunching at The Heath where he is a popular fixture with the SOG team, and staff from many of the companies that operate from the location and use the sites Café at The Heath restaurant facility.
Raymond has been a life-long supporter of Liverpool FC since going to Anfield with his father in 1943 to watch the Reds play Everton in a war-time Merseyside Derby. Recalls Raymond: Until then the only football games I saw were in Runcorn. Liverpool were losing 2-0 with 15 minutes to go and I turned to my dad and said Im going to be a Liverpool supporter. Fifteen minutes later the game ended and Liverpool had scored five goals, they won the match 5-2 and I was totally hooked.
A regular at Anfield ever since that memorable occasion, Raymond was voted Fan of the Year by Liverpool sponsor Standard Charter in 2012. These days he often attends matches with SOG Managing Director John Lewis and Johns son Ryan.
For Raymonds 90th birthday on Wednesday, November 13th John threw a surprise celebration at The Heath and presented him with several mementos. These included the special card from Jürgen Klopp; a card from SOG and residents of The Heath and a Liverpool shirt bearing the name of Liverpool Legend Billy Liddell. Billy Liddell was my boyhood idol the greatest player who ever played for Liverpool and a person who I admired greatly, says Raymond.
A confirmed bachelor, Beethoven fan Raymond loves music. Hes an accomplished organ and piano player but always wanted to play in an orchestra. About four years ago I saw a cello for sale in a shop in Runcorn for £200 and bought it. I started cello lessons and now play in the Jan Modelski Community Orchestra based in Chester. Jans a marvellous charismatic musician, and we practice every Saturday in an orchestra made of up of people of all ages who all simply share a love of music.
His regular visits to The Heath Business and Technical Park give him great pleasure. Its lovely to come back to the place where I used to work for ICI. When ICI closed it was awful for Runcorn, thousands of people worked here in those days. Then The Heath emerged and has reinvigorated the place.
I come here for the food and for the company, and the people are so very kind. John Lewis is a really personable man who is a great believer in community, and The Heath is a real centre for community spirit as well as a centre of business. I cant thank everyone enough for making my birthday so special.
Raymond, who jokingly describes himself as a dysfunctional bachelor, has a nephew and extended family who live locally and who threw him another celebration to mark the landmark occasion.
About The Heath
The Heath, which was established as a business park in 2000, has attracted over 175 British and international companies, ranging from bio science firms to IT specialists, from food industry consultants to website designers, and from government agencies to telemarketing specialists. Residents have been attracted by the 60-acre business park's vast range of impressive facilities and its flexibility in space management and in attitude. The Heath offers a wide range of office and laboratory space, together with a purpose-built conference centre that includes a 120-seat lecture theatre. Residents can also choose from a wide selection of additional services, including telephone and broadband connectivity, laboratory support services, scientific glass-blowing and precision engineering facilities, to name but a few. Residents also have access to The Heath's fitness centre and gym. Combined with 1,700 parking spaces, its first-class transport links - and the ability for residents to select and pay for just the services they require - it's no surprise that the number of companies on The Heath is continuing to grow rapidly.
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PAUL SMITH ASSOCIATES
15th November 2019