Ray Searles, JEC Chairman passes away aged 63

We are extremely shocked and saddened to announce that Ray Searles, Chairman of the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club has passed away suddenly on December 9th, 2021 at age 63.

Ray Searles was a passionate Jaguar enthusiast, a well-respected member of the global Jaguar family, an inspiring chairman for our club, father, husband and friend to many. Ray was originally from Essex, but in more recent years had made Shropshire his home. Ray leaves behind his wife Kay, two sons Graham and Adam and his dog Bentley.

Ray joined the board of the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club in 2013 and immediately rolled up his sleeves to organise events, leading the club’s events committee ever since. Throughout that time Ray remained driven by the immense amount of joy he took from creating amazing events and experiences for fellow Jaguar fans, including the memorable Summer Jaguar Festivals at Windsor Castle and Blenheim Palace. Ray became Chairman in 2019 and has led the club through the recent challenging times with strength and vision.

Ray owned an E-type which he affectionately referred to as Sophie and undertook a number of European tours and excursions in the car, amongst which, the Spirit of the Entente was one of his favourites and was a touring event that he had relaunched within the club for the enjoyment of others.

Most recently, Ray had acquired another Jaguar, an XKRS and had been getting to grips with its immense power and performance by taking part in a number of the club’s track days. It’s fair to say that Ray was well and truly bitten by the track day bug and was seen grinning from ear to ear through the visor of his helmet at Castle Combe last October.

Outside of Jaguars, Ray enjoyed an interest in all things James Bond and with his wife Kay, shared a love of ballroom dancing and watching Strictly Come Dancing. Ray enjoyed regular trips to spend time at the family’s villa in Spain and was also a supporter of the Haemophilia Society, the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club's chosen charity for this year’s raffle car, which Ray presented to its winner on Saturday 4th December at the British Motor Museum, Gaydon.

Speaking of Ray’s passing, JEC General Manager James Blackwell said, “Ray has been a tremendous support to the team here in the club office. Whilst he drove us to be the best we could be and deliver the best for our members, he also helped and supported us in achieving it. Ray always showed his appreciation for his team’s hard work and dedication and was a true team player as well as an inspiring leader. This has come as a terrible shock to us all here at the club offices, not least because earlier on the day of his passing, he visited us here in the office to lend a hand and also to place a bet between us on who would be voted off Strictly Come Dancing at the weekend! It was that mix of dedication and humour that we will miss so much.

Fellow board member Richard West said, “In my relatively new role as a Director of the JEC, I have had almost daily contact with Ray since taking office. His drive and determination was infectious and it has been his unflinching desire to grow the Club and ensure that its offerings were as inclusive to our membership as it is possible to be. Apart from my business dealings with him, we had developed a close personal relationship which I valued greatly and when in need of guidance or someone to mull things over with, he would always make time or send me one of his ‘Busy…call you in 15 minutes’ short messages and sure enough 15 minutes later, there he would be. Moving forwards, not having him there is not only a personal blow but his passing is a great loss to the Club and the many people who knew him. We have all lost a dedicated and professional member of the JEC and for those us that had grown to know Ray personally, we have lost a good and trusted friend."

Former Chairman Peter Purdom added to the tributes this afternoon saying, “This has come as an enormous shock. Ray has had a very important input to the Board with his wealth of business experience. In my time as JEC Chairman I could always count on Ray giving me straight (sometimes blunt!) answers to issues that we were dealing with. As current Chairman, Ray has always been focused on what needs to be achieved and very determined to develop new opportunities for the benefit of our members – some of which have yet to come to fruition but which we will pursue with vigour. Thank you Ray for the considerable amount of time that you dedicated to the JEC – we will miss you very much.

The Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club send our deepest condolences and heartfelt thoughts to Ray’s wife Kay, sons Graham and Adam, and to his many friends for their sudden loss.

JEC newsletter

For regular updates about JEC and all things Jaguar, sign up for our newsletter

Stay informed

By signing up you will receive from us: Event and Club information, Information on the latest Club products, special offers and services and information on member benefits. We may use information you provide us to predict what communications you might be interested in receiving. You can of course unsubscribe at any time, details are in every newsletter.