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Ray Hazan on Radio 107 Meridian FM

Get your diaries out, please! Turn to Saturday 19th November, and write in:
“1 p.m. - listen to Seaford Rotarian Ray Hazan on Radio 107 Meridian FM”
Ray, who in April was awarded the Soldiering On Through Life Trust’s “2016 Trustees Award” for services to the blind community, will be talking about his life, and how, after losing his sight and suffering horrific injuries in a parcel bomb explosion, he managed to overcome adversity and devote his life to supporting other blind UK veterans.
On 19th November, you can hear Ray talking to us – Ginnie Waddingham and Lesley Robinson – on “Rotary on the Radio”, a weekly programme presented by members of East Grinstead Meridian Rotary Club. We like to feature special people on our show, and when we read about Ray in the Seaford Newsmonger, we knew we just had to persuade him!
So, we contacted Newsmonger editor, Keith Ross, and were delighted – and surprised – to receive an e-mail from Ray himself, saying he’d be honoured to do an interview. That was our first experience of Ray’s incredible achievements – an e-mail from a veteran who is totally blind.
We agreed that we would drive down to Seaford to record the interview with Ray. First, we had to draft some questions, and run them past Ray. Then, it was off to Seaford, where we met Ray and his lovely wife Roberta at their home. After a welcome coffee, we all sat around the table, and switched on our recorder.
Ray had said he was willing to talk about that fateful day when the parcel bomb exploded, but we were all overcome when he described what happened and subsequently how he managed to build a new life. Ginnie asked Ray if he felt his life had taken a different and perhaps more exciting path from the one that he had envisaged. Did Ray, in an odd sort of way, feel that the accident had given him some amazing life experiences that would have passed him by had it not been for the explosion? Ray agreed that he almost felt ‘fortunate’ at times to be helping others, meeting royalty, being the guest of honour at events and being invited to take part in some incredible experiences.
The day of the explosion appears to be a crossroads in Ray’s life and although, naturally, anyone experiencing such a dreadful event would rather it had not happened, Ray found that it opened doors and led him to help others while he was still himself mentally recuperating. His first-hand understanding of the struggle to come to terms with what had happened enabled Ray to give advice and support to others.
The citation for Ray’s award from the Soldiering on Through Life Trust said that “he epitomises the courage, commitment and resourcefulness of Blind Veterans UK’s Armed Forces Community”. After meeting Ray, we can only echo those words.
Ray Hazan commented “Of course, it is always flattering to be asked to speak on radio about oneself. It is tantamount to opening a box of souvenirs and looking back over one’s life. This occasion was no different and interviewers, Lesley and Ginnie, treated the session with sympathy and understanding, especially when I became emotional, the prerogative of the older person!
The most difficult part is when one is asked how one have overcome the loss of sight. A very hard question to answer as it is so personal the way one approaches the matter. Just keep on smiling all the way through – a perhaps rather light hearted answer, but it gets me through!”
* Seaford is outside the broadcast range of Radio 107 Meridian FM but can be listened to via your PC. Log on to www.meridianfm.com and click on “Listen Live” at top of screen, on Saturday 19th November at 13:00.


posted: Saturday, 12 November 2016

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