Tributes have been paid to a Pinner resident beloved amongst the community after he sadly passed away on May 30.
Ray Thacker, who moved to the town in 1991 was known for his friendly attitude as he spent his time regularly socialising with residents and business owners in the town.
Speaking to PinnerNews, Ray’s son Ray Thacker Junior said the family are “heartbroken” but are warmed by the response from the community.
He said: “He was very well known in the community, lots of the shopkeepers knew him. You go out and so many people ask about my dad, so many people knew him and they’ve been lovely with his condolences.
“He was described as a larger than life character. Dad used to walk through town with his white Bichon frise and stop and talk to people. He was a real people’s person and everyone knew him.
“The staff at Zaza were so upset, he used to go in there a couple of times a week with my mum and they’ve been so comforting to the family.”
Ray was not only well-known within the Pinner community but was also famous across the motoring industry in London.
Taking over a small garage in Colindale, Ray transformed the site into a huge car dealership, which with VW on board would soon become the largest dealership in Britain.
Ray Jnr said: “My dad’s father died when he was in his early 20s and left him with a small garage with a couple of petrol pumps and cars.
“He knocked it down and built a huge car dealership. He was the biggest importer of VW beetles and built up a very successful business.
“The family are all very proud of what dad had achieved in his lifetime.”
In the 1980s, Ray began to feature in television commercials and became somewhat of a minor celeb.
Ray Jnr said: “The advert showed him jumping out of a plane with a parachute and landing in a golf convertible.
“His tag line was ‘drop into Collindale’. It was quite an American thing to do and was a little bit ahead of his time.”
Would you like to share your memories of Ray and pay tribute to him? Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org