Ray was born in Fulham and as a young child was struck down by polio and was not expected to survive. He spent several weeks in an iron lung and was read his last rites by a priest. Against all odds he made a miraculous recovery but was left with lifelong physical disabilities as a result of contracting the disease. Against the wishes of his family, Ray was sent to live at Hatchford Park, a residential school for children with disabilities in Surrey which was a deeply unhappy period in his life.
Ray was involved in several family businesses and was one of the founder partners of Prestige Cars and Couriers which was established in 1982. With a sharp eye for numbers and a diligent bookkeeper Ray was responsible for the finances at the business and was also keen investor, following the stock markets and investing wisely throughout his life.
In 2007 Ray was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and died in October 2009. After his difficult start in life and unhappy childhood his legacy is to support children and young people in Hammersmith and Fulham. The Prestige Bender Family Trust has also been a long-term funder of Ray’s Playhouse, a daily stay and play centre based in the Sands End area in Fulham. Following cuts in council funding this service was saved by the Trust in 2010 to provide a welcoming and stimulating play environment for under 5’s with their parents or carers supervised by early-years professionals. Open Monday to Friday throughout the year the centre has supported hundreds of young children giving them the best possible start in life.
The Prestige Bender Family Trust are delighted to be supporting the Special Educational Needs provision and High Achieving Pupil Scheme at Fulham Boys School as well as funding new equipment in the new sports hall. This funding will allow pupils to gain access to a wide range of services, all supported by specialist staff allowing them to reach their full potential.