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Ray’s Story: The guitar hero

The local musician’s treasured instruments have a new home

If you visited the pubs and folk clubs of Weymouth and Dorchester back in the day, you’ll probably know the name Ray Mitchell.

Ray was a talented guitarist, and a popular performer at places such as the Blue Raddle, Goldies, and the Royal Oak.

He was just 22 when he started playing the guitar back in the 1950s, and it became a life long passion.  He learnt to play without the guidance of a teacher, instead learning notes and chords and tunes from a book.

He loved the pop music of the 1950s and 60s, often learning the songs made famous by the iconic bands and artists of the time.  He was also a fan of folk, and country and western – in fact, anything that would challenge his guitar playing talents and please a crowd.

His favourite song to perform was Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’, and he would often lead sing-a-longs on holiday with family and friends, as he would always have a guitar with him.

Very sadly, Ray passed away earlier this year, having been cared for at home during his final months by the Weldmar Community Nursing team.

Ray generously donated four of his guitars to Weldmar, in order that we might raise funds for our services, and they have raised just under £1,000.

The prize piece was a Folk Acoustic “O” Rosewood guitar by David Oddy of Bournemouth, made in 1994 and numbered ’93’.  It was in great condition, with a case, and sold for £880.00 on  Weldmar’s eBay shop.  The remaining guitars were sold by our Blandford Outlet.

Not only did the purchaser obtain a beautiful instrument, but she also wanted to thank Ray Mitchell and his family for donating it to the hospice.  It turns out that her husband knew David Oddy personally, and loves guitars, and she was a nurse at her local hospice in Torquay (Rowcroft), so she was very pleased to have been able to help Weldmar with this purchase.

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