Runcorn: November 14th, 2019: 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 ICI’s 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 site’s 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 ‘I’m 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 John’s son Ryan.
For Raymond’s 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. He’s 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. Jan’s 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. “It’s 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 can’t 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 Business and Technical Park is a phenomenal regeneration success story. Formed in 2000, its owner and operator, SOG Ltd, has transformed a once single occupancy corporate facility into a thriving independent business park. The Heath now provides office and laboratory accommodation for more than 120 individual organisations, ranging from business services and IT specialists to those at the cutting edge of science, research and advanced manufacturing. Around 2,000 people are employed at the site. For further information, telephone 01928 515988 or visit www.theheath.com
Issued on behalf of The Heath Business and Technical Park,
Media contact: Paul Smith Associates (PSA) 01420 22532