Humble hubby Raymond honoured for loving care

UK MS-nominated Carer of the Year Raymond McGowan pictured with his wife of 40 years, Marie, at their Strathfoyle home yesterday afternoon. 2608JM47
UK MS-nominated Carer of the Year Raymond McGowan pictured with his wife of 40 years, Marie, at their Strathfoyle home yesterday afternoon. 2608JM47

Loving Derry husband Raymond McGinn has been dedicated to caring for the every need of his “wonderful wife” Marie, who has Multiple Sclerosis, for 39 years.

Now the 70 year-old Strathfoyle man has been shortlisted for the prestigious title of the MS Society’s ‘MS Carer of the Year’ award. He is one of three finalists in his category who have been invited to attend the prestigious awards ceremony in London on September 27.

Raymond was nominated by his daughter, Deborah, who praised her father for his dedication to supporting his wife and the hard work he puts in as Chairperson of the Foyle Branch of the MS Society. A second nomination for Raymond was also received by fellow Foyle branch member Naomi O’Loughlin.

But the ever-humble Raymond believes he has done nothing out of the ordinary. “I do all the cooking and cleaning at home, I help Marie with anything she needs me to do. I don’t say I’m her carer, she’s my wife and I’m her husband - we enjoy a wonderful relationship. She has a great sense of humour and a lovely personality,” he says.

Marie was diagnosed with MS 39 years ago and has used a wheelchair permanently for the past 29 years. In the 1980s Raymond suffered complications as a result of major surgery and has been unable to work ever since - despite this, he is absolutely dedicated to the needs of his wife.

The measure of Raymond is clear from his attitude to all the attention. “It’s nice, but I don’t do it to win an award - I just do it for the satisfaction of helping people. That’s the kind of man I am. I love to spend time with my family, every Sunday my daughter comes for dinner with her husband and my 2 grandchildren and I cook the meal, it’s nice.”

This Sunday the couple celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.

In her nomination, daughter Deborah said her dad was “one most amazing people” she ever met. “He has been a wonderful father to me, husband to my mother, grandfather to my children and friend to anyone that knows him. I would like his efforts to be recognised and for him to know how important he is in our lives.”

Naomi, of the Foyle Branch of the MS Society, wrote: “Raymond has been an inspiration to me and my husband - he has a wonderful relationship with his wife and I see the pleasure they take in each other’s company.

“After I was diagnosed it helped me realise that MS did not spell out death to my relationship with my husband.”

Raymond has volunteered for the Foyle Branch of the MS Society since the early 1970s.

This Sunday (28 August) Raymond and Marie celebrate their 40th Wedding Anniversary.