Updated: Dec 19, 2022
Ray Cox with James Griffin MP at the opening of Ngara garden John Fisher Park in October 2020
(Photograph: James Brickwood)
We formally record that long standing Committee officer and life member of our Association Mr Ray Cox passed away in October 2022, almost 97 years of age.
It's difficult to fully capture the sense of loss we feel as Ray had been a guide, mentor and friend to each of us and now we must manage without him. His visible legacy in the bushland of John Fisher Park, Stirgess Reserve, Greendale Creek, the banks of the lagoon, Alan Newton Reserve and on our headlands is a bittersweet reminder of what Ray gave to our community.
He was so kind. A squeeze of the hand from Ray could keep your spirits up and give you the boost you needed to pick up the pen to write a letter, pull just one more weed, plant one more native, put up one more poster, deliver one more street's worth of newsletters, hand out another how-to-vote card or summon the courage to speak up.
Ray welcomed each of us into CCLF's Executive Committee and counselled us wisely, "Don't burn out, stay the course, fight the good fight." He instilled a love of the natural environment that has enriched our lives and provided purpose.
We could rely on Ray. He did the hard yards in litter clean-ups, removing bag upon bag of plastic debris and rubbish every Clean Up Australia Day. He was a bushcare regular, sharing knowledge, local news and a gentle joke.
Ray did not shy away from a fight when native habitat was under threat. He defended Manly War Memorial bushland around Manly Dam arguing that we need and deserve places of tranquility that honour those who served. He stood up to politicians and government staff too ready to sacrifice trees for concrete. He made a strong case. Principles mattered.
Ray connected people and made much-needed bridges between those volunteering in nature conservation organisations across the Northern Beaches. It made us all stronger, more empathetic and passionate.
It is an honour and a privilege to continue Ray's vision and his work. We will remember him with love and give thanks for all he gifted us.