1947 - 2021

Ray Dowse

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Loyal volunteer and life member

Ray Dowse (pictured in middle), a stalwart of the Bicycle Network family, sadly passed away late December 2021.

Ray was one of Bicycle Network’s longest-serving volunteers, having contributed over 31 years of his valuable time and knowledge to our events and workshop. He was inducted as a Bicycle Network Life Member in 2013, having ridden his first Great Vic in the late 80’s and moving across to volunteering the year after. Since then, Ray volunteered on every Great Vic, many of our interstate multi-day rides and every single edition of Around the Bay.

A man of few words, Ray’s actions, loyalty and generosity to our organisation spoke loudly. He dutifully supported thousands of riders across our events with signage, route support and assistance, and for many years was the king of the line-marking machine on the Great Vic campsite crew. More recently, Ray held the fort at the Great Vic vehicle entrance with long-time teammate, and fellow Life Member Keith Porter.

Keith began working with Ray consistently in the 2000s and recalls Ray’s unwavering loyalty to the team.

“Ray was very dedicated, never late and also very considerate of his fellow teammates. He worked hard and wasn’t happy until the job was done,” said Keith, adding cheekily: “You could always tell when he was getting tired because the campsite lines started to curve a bit!”

Ray was never a fan of fuss or attention but always looked after others with simple gestures such as making a cuppa or offering to help. He was also an early riser but never wanted to disturb those sleeping around him, so would often be waiting quietly, ready to go in the mornings.

Keith remembers that if you were sharing a room, Ray always went out of his way not to disturb those sleeping around him, but you’d often here a quiet grumble when he dropped a spoon or bumped a chair as he tried to navigate his way around an early breakfast in the dark.

Ray loved a momento and kept hold of every DVD, ride guide and passport from his events each year. Outside of his work on events, Ray was ever reliable in keeping check of our marquees and flags at the workshop every Wednesday, while also supporting the team with some of the more challenging jobs like stocktaking and the sorting of merchandise.

Ray lit up at the slightest hint of football chat, was an avid supporter of the AFLW, and we’re thrilled that he got to experience his beloved Dees bringing home the flag late last year.

Bicycle Network’s Volunteer Coordinator Sarah Cunningham remembers Ray for his hard work and selfless nature.

“Whether manning the gates on Great Vic, chopping up oranges at the Frankston Rest Area or keeping the marquees well maintained out at the workshop, you could always rely on Ray to put 110% into everything he did. I remember working with him one year on Around the Bay – he injured his arm quite badly and we told him to go home and rest. Instead, he went over to first aid, got it bandaged up and before we knew it, he was right back at it. He was just that kind of person; incredibly selfless and never wanted to let anybody down.”

General Manager Rebecca Lane recalls Ray’s diligent work, and quiet but supportive presence.

“Ray took his responsibilities incredibly seriously. When I first started working with Ray, he used to go for hours marking up campsites each day. Rain, hail or shine, he kept going until the job was done to his high standards, and he still cared for the equipment each and every year. He was a true gentle giant, listening and learning from those around him. But he also knew his strengths, and when the team needed a hand, he was always there.”

Ray will be sadly missed by all of our team, but we’re incredible thankful for the contribution he made to our organisation and his friendship to many.

Farewell Ray.