Tributes have been paid to a former Preston Lodge player and coach who passed away last month.

Joe Ray, originally from Eyemouth but laterally Aberlady, passed away last month aged 67 after suffering from a heart attack.

Mr Ray had a passion for rugby, taking charge of the PL3rds team from 1998 until 2009.

The father-of-three was a recognisable face around the club, regularly attending PL matches until his passing.

Mr Ray undertook an SRU coaching course at Murrayfield in 1998 after being placed in charge of PL3rds alongside fellow rugby enthusiast Stan Murray-Zmijewski.

Remembering his fellow coach, Stan told the Courier: “Joe was already well known throughout East Lothian and was happy to get his boots on when the opportunity arose so leaving me to umpire.

“PL3rds had an excellent rapport with Ross High in those days supporting their fundraisers.

“Joe went to France to play in a veterans' match backed by the SRU - once again another great outing to recall.

“Our thoughts are with his many friends, his partner and all his extended family here and in Eyemouth.”

Fellow player Kevin Breen added: "Joe was the man behind PL's third team, he organised a lot of the fixtures and was integral in the running of the team.

"He had a passion for rugby and for PL and would do whatever he could for the team. He would play any position and would do whatever was necessary."

Mr Breen recalled a trip to Rome with fellow players including Joe when Scotland were set to face Italy.

"A real character"


He said: "We found out at the time that Joe really liked cats, there was a massive cat sanctuary in Rome and we were this huge group of burly rugby guys going into a local shop to buy a load of cat food to donate it. It must have been some sight!

"Joe was a real character and his love for the sport stretched right until his passing. He had been talking about a trip to France next year, but unfortunately he never got the chance.

"It's difficult to sum everything up because there were so many memories, but Joe will certainly be missed."

East Lothian Courier: Preston Lodge stalwart Joe Ray passed away last month aged 67Preston Lodge stalwart Joe Ray passed away last month aged 67

Shona Brash, former president of Preston Lodge, added: “We were very sorry to hear about the passing of Joe who was a well-known figure here at PL.

“Joe coached with the club for a long time and has been a big part of PL for a number of years.

“We are very grateful to Joe for all he has done for the club, including coaching youth level teams, and our condolences go out to his family.”

A funeral service will be held for Mr Ray on Monday (April 8) at Seafield Crematorium, with a tea at The Royal British Legion in Prestonpans afterwards with all welcome.

A spokesperson for Preston Lodge RFC added: “We were very sad to hear of the passing of Joe Ray.

“Joe was a club stalwart of many years. We were delighted when he was able to join us in the club a few weeks ago. Condolences from everyone at PLRFC.”