Nick Rayns (1952-2013)

Nick Rayns

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91 thoughts on “Nick Rayns (1952-2013)

  1. My heartfelt condolences to Nick’s family and friends. He was an integral member of the Union Entertainments team, and I was sad to hear the news.

  2. Nick was a great Ents Manager. Between the concerts and the films, he kept me most entertained during my time at UEA. He was also very helpful when, as part of the Nexus team, we were trying to get interviews with the visiting celebs.

    Thanks, Nick

  3. So sad to hear of Nick’s death.
    I worked at UEA Students Union with him in the early 1980’s.
    He did so much for local bands & brought such fantastic music to Norwich.
    So many people owe him for some great memories of gigs in the LCR & at Horsham.

  4. I was stunned to hear of the untimely passing of Nick Rayns, clearly such a focal member of the UUEAS team. As a current first year, I’m perhaps not the most well-informed person to make a comment on Nick’s character, but I will point out that on my admittance to UEA, plenty of my friends from other Universities had commented on the ability of the UEA Union to attract high-profile bands and groups to perform at the LCR. So clearly, Nick’s work was very important with regards to developing the reputation of our Union as being one of the greats among the UK and his passing is a phenomenal loss to everyone affiliated with the Union. RIP and condolences to his family.

  5. Nick was a brilliant man. Though we didn’t cross paths many times, he is the reason UEA Ents stands where it is today. You will be sadly missed. Thank you.

  6. Nick will be greatly missed and true gent who has given so much joy to so many people in Norfolk and the surrounding area. The LCR won’t be the same without him. My thoughts are with his family, colleagues and friends at this sad time.

  7. I remember with great affection working for Nick for pretty much the whole of my time at UEA from 1988 to about 1993. From bizarre bands I had never heard of ‘loading in’ at 9am on a Sunday, to re-opening the Waterfront, to once building an ice rink in a field for Torvill and Dean, he was an ever present face, with a ‘can do’ attitude, always assisted by a wodge a cash for refreshments (“but make sure you get a receipt”). My often nocturnal job with Ents directly enabled me to devote the time (and sometimes money) to create both Livewire and Concrete during my time at UEA – both assisted, often surreptitiously, by Nick and his team, and his enabling ‘words’ in tour managers ears.
    Despite what seemed like a thankless job balancing the demands of touring bands, student politics, and often drunk students, he was always fair and generous, whether it was making sure his team got home at 2am (even if it was 10 of us in the back of a van) , or the odd free ticket to something.
    I’m sure he will be missed, and remembered by everyone at UEA, past and present. My heartfelt condolences to Nick’s family.

  8. One of the great stalwarts of life at UEA, fondly remembered for the great entertainment he organised and his positive helpful outlook on life. Well done Nick, you made a big difference to so many people over such a long period.

  9. I was very sad to hear this news today.

    Nick, it was a great pleasure to have had the opportunity to work with you. Thank you for all your endeavours and mostly for being you, my most sincere condolences to your family.

  10. My sincerest condolences. As a booking agent in the 1980s I had the pleasure of dealing with Nick many times. His reputation as a knowledgeable, diligent and highly respected promoter preceded him. It’s a mark of the impact he had on those he worked with that I have felt his loss as I have despite not having worked in the music business for 20 years. Rest in peace.

  11. Nick u made the UEA ents what it is today, u have made history. We will missed you all so much. Never forgotten. Xxxxxxx

  12. Nick was a wonderful man, my best memory of him was helping me furnish my new house, I would go to the pre-auction viewing and he would bid on items for me. 9 years on I still have the kitchen table and chairs and bedroom furniture he procured for me. On top of this I would see him regularly at gigs whether I was working or attending and he would always stop to say hi.
    my heart felt condolences to Annie and the kids, he will be sorely missed x

  13. Nick was always very helpful right through from my early days of writing reviews for the Eastern Evening News, and then the EDP, to fanzines and local magazines, and broadcasting my radio show. The last time i saw him was just under a year ago when he told me how ill he had been, but that he was recovering. Very sad news. He will be missed by many. Richard

  14. Saw a post on Facebook today and was saddened by the news of Nick’s passing. Condolences to the family. He was a kind hearted man and so many people in East Anglia (and beyond), Norwich and especially at UEA Norwich/The Union of UEA Students/The Waterfront benefitted from his significant knowledge of and direct input to the live music scene. He will be remembered and sadly missed.

  15. What an impact Nick had on Norwich’s music scene. His contribution will be celebrated and never forgotten by so many. On a smaller scale, Outline Magazine would like to offer sincere thanks for his unending help and support over the years.

  16. I knew Nick from when I was Union Welfare Officer in the early 1990’s. He was one of those that made the life of a Sabbatical Officer much easier and I’m so sad to hear of his passing. Now organising the Great Gig in the Sky.

  17. So sorry to hear the news. I remember my first ever job interview was with Nick. I was so nervous but Nick made me feel at ease. Working for UEA ents was the best job I have had, made possible by Nick, Di, Gav and Louise. UEA ents wouldn’t be as great as it is today without all his work over the years.
    My heartfelt condolences to Nicks family, friend and colleagues.

  18. There is a reason why UEA is always in the top tier for student experience. That reason is Nick Rayns. Thank you for making my time here so memorable.

  19. Such Great man Nick Your made the U,E.A Ents And will always be remember such a sad lose to Family and friends .Never Four gotten xxxxx

  20. Nick was the gentlest and the kindest of giants and a great friend who I will miss greatly. my most sincere condolences to Nick’s family.
    John Sharp (cleaning).

  21. Like everyone else I was shocked by this news. He has been at the centre of UEA, and not simply of the Union, for so long. Beyond his brilliance in persuading leading performers to come to the University, he was always helpful and understanding, willing to do whatever was necessary to make life here endlessly exciting. It is hard to imagine that UEA would have been like without him.What a loss.

  22. He will be missed. I remember him from when I helped to run the Alternative Music Society at UEA in the early 90’s and from rather excessive gig-going during my student years at UEA. Since I have been working back at UEA for the last couple years it has been lovely to see him still pootling around in the Hive. All best wishes to his family x

  23. So sad to hear the news about Nick – I’ll always remember him as a great guy. Am honoured to have known him. Angela

  24. Nick Rayns was a big man with a big heart that touched all who knew him. I will always remember him doing what he did best organising wonderful LCR entertainment experiences for students and the wider community. He was always busy but he made time for everyone. He was a gentleman in all senses of the word. While he may be gone his spirit will always live on in the LCR which perhaps could be renamed in his honour for all the joy he gave to those who came to UEA. My sympathies go to his family and many friends.

  25. I will never forget taking down Nick’s chimney when he lived in Wymondham. Nick wasn’t going up those ladders because they balanced against the guttering and the last six feet or so was waving about in thin air! I was much lighter than he was, so he persuaded me with a couple of pints of Dutch courage down the local pub, and I spent a leisurely few hours lobbing bricks down into his garden, trying desperately to avoid next door’s greenhouse. And I have a terrible fear of heights! Nick could persuade anybody to do anything. He was a charming, larger than life character, and he gave UEA an injection of new bands at a vital point in the history of British music, presiding over the transition from Prog Rock into Punk, New Wave, etc. Fabulous man.

  26. Nick was a wonderful, funny and kind-hearted man. He was incredibly supportive when I was running the Contemporary Music Society, helping us as much as he could with our gigs in the LCR, and generally supporting university and local music. I went on to work for Union Ents and loved every second I was there. The opportunities, advice and inspiration that Nick, Dianne and Toby gave me during my time in Norwich will never be forgotten and have been so valuable in everything I have done since. My deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues

      • I ran it 03-04 I don’t think it exists under the same name anymore. Nick always did all he could to help us with our Soundsplash events in the LCR.

      • I lost contact with the CMS after about ’88. We’d broken into rooms in a prefab at the old Village site and set up extra practice rooms, subsidised the release of records, promoted gigs in the LCR and in the city and had free recording gear to lend out. Nick was such a help even back then…

  27. So sad to hear about this 😦
    Nick was a really great person and I still remember our last meeting clearly and how he used to cheer us
    Sincere condolescences to his family and friends
    Such a loss for uea

  28. Really sad to hear the news of Nick’s passing. I, like many others, worked for Nick during my time at UEA (door-dropping leaflets, selling cinema tickets, being cloakroom attendance at the Waterfront etc). He was a really lovely, funny and very kind man. My condolences to his family.

  29. Nick and the team gave me one of the best jobs I ever had. I loved being an Ent and I will never forget the fond memories. Nick always offered us lifts home if the cab offices were busy, and I remember having to cling on tightly to his prized antiques as we went round corners. He was always kind and caring, and one of the best bosses I’ve ever had. A sad loss for the Union, the Ents team and just anyone who was lucky enough to have met him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this sad time.

  30. Although I didn’t know him personally, I remember Nick at the heart of anything going on in the LCR. Like so many other UEA students, I went to Ents events several times a week and they were always great. Nick was friendly and would stop to chat to the bar staff (including me) as we were setting up or clearing up at the end of shift. Thanks Nick for all that you did for the thousands of students and staff. Heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

  31. Nick was ents manager when I was a student union sabbatical officer in the late 1990s. He’s responsible for so many years of amazing music and entertainment at UEA. I remember exclaiming over all the old gig tickets on his office wall. He was absolutely central to the UEA student experience, and a lovely man as well.

  32. I met Nick a couple of times and very briefly he seemed very kind. I mostly felt his warmth through his daughter Rachel who spoke of him and her family so often and lovingly. It appeared to me very early on that Nick could be one of Rachel’s biggest inspirations and that was lovely to see. I’m sure you all will have great support. x

  33. I have had the great pleasure and privilege of knowing Nick for over 30 years. Nick was without doubt the most generous, wise, kind hearted, loveable man I have ever met. We first met at the students union, and I offered to help shift some boxes. Even though I was quite inept, he made space for me and took me under his wing teaching, supporting and guiding. In a short space of time and in a very real way he changed my life, he was responsible for me meeting my wife, having a career and giving me the confidence to start my own company.
    Nick taught me every lesson I value about life, and he offered support, encouragement, sound advice and wisdom to anyone who needed it.
    The world is a duller, lesser place without you Nick, and we are all poorer for your passing. There is a quote which reads “Something still exists as long as there’s someone around to remember it.”. Nick, you will live on for a very long time in the hearts of those lucky enough to have known you and whose lives you enriched. Our thoughts and condolences go out to your family at this desperately sad time.

  34. It has been a great pleasure to work with him, and to hear of all that he has done for the union and university. A fantastic man who was always on hand to help me out, never without a smile on his face.

  35. So sad to hear the news about Nick and my thoughts are with his friends and family at this difficult time. Although I never had many personal dealings with Nick, whenever I’ve been working at the LCR he was always a guaranteed smiley, friendly face to have around, whose banter never ceased to greatly amuse me. He is greatly respected by all at the the Union and will sorely missed by all those that knew him.

  36. The year is 1985, the night is late and I’m stranded midway up the stairs of Norwich crypt, pinioned down by a flight case full of metal and cables, blasphemously screaming obscenities and yelling for help. Supporting the other end of the box stands a big beardy bloke shaking with laughter, his stomach making the case wobble precariously and with tears running down his face. Suddenly, in the distance, I hear someone locking the doors and then the lights go out.

    Another night out with Nick Rayns.

    You didn’t work for, or with, Nick. You went with the bear hug embrace of life-affirming fun, excitement, absurdity, friendship and unswerving loyalty. Of madcap races around Norfolk in a beaten up ambulance; noisy sweaty nights in the LCR or trying to teach me how to play bridge in the grad bar. The rip of gaffer tape. Of chocolate milk or glutinous, sticky rice in the Chinese restaurant. And laughter. Always laughter.

    Life is poorer without Nick, but for anyone who has a memory of this fine man, treasure it. It’s priceless.

    Sincere condolences to his family.

    • Tony

      I probably haven’t seen you since that time, and may even have been there that night – if not, undoubtedly one of the many great nights with Nick around that time. Like so many other people, I have wonderful memories of my time in the ENTS office, which I still talk about today. Such sad news, but to read the recollections of so many people brings back vivid images of great times.

      A few months back I almost booked tickets for a concert at the LCR for my daughter, which would have been two weeks ago, but for various reasons it didn’t happen – I wondered if Nick might have been there – how I regret it now.

      They were the best of times – 4 years of late nights with Nick, yourself, Kev, Gavin, Phil, Greg, Alison, John, and no doubt many others I’ve not mentioned. I’m not sure I’ve ever recovered!

      Nick was a wonderful man, and many of us owe him so much in terms of shaping our future.

  37. Nick – Thank you. As a musician, ex student and former Contemporary Music Soc pres you were so helpful to me and my colleagues. Several generations of Norfolk musicians owe you a huge debt of gratitude. Wherever you’ve gone, I hope you are STILL in charge of the bar… 🙂

  38. As a Norwich local and a UEA student, I have had the benefit of Nick’s work for many, many years. He is the reason why the LCR is as famous as it is today and without him I wonder whether we would have had anywhere near as good gigs as we have been graced with. Thank you, Nick. My thoughts are with your friends and family.

  39. I was really sad to hear of this news. Always time for a chat, always a twinkle in his eye, always a beautiful tone to his voice. Always a part of UEA. My heartfelt condolences to his family.

  40. What a shock and what can I add to the comments above? He was a really, really nice bloke and he really will be missed. Heart felt sympathy to all family and friends

  41. Oh Annie I’m so so sorry to hear this very sad news. We haven’t seen each other for 26 years since I left UEA in 1987 so I hope you remember me.

    My time with Nick, and of course Gavin, Minns and John, was amongst the best in my life. Nick was just a fantastic bloke who you simply wanted to hang around with. I remember seeing him carrying a portable heater towards the Bill Wilson room on the night of a BB King concert – the Bill Wilson room was doubling as BB King’s dressing room. “What are you doing with that Nick?” I asked. “BB cold” was his sharp witted reply.

    You know, it’s Nick’s wide smile and caring eyes that I’ll remember best. At that young age I was fascinated by the nocturnal life he had to lead in order to carry out his job and I loved being a part of that for a brief period of his life. So many memories: Suzanne Vega doing two concerts in one day, the ‘load ins’ and ‘load outs’ where I’d be paid £5 to lump speakers into the LCR but in truth I was too weak to carry anything other than Bose tops whilst Nick was always in the back of the arctic lorry with Minns and John lugging those huge bits of equipment around. Tony Foley and others are right to have referred to Nick as a giant. I’m not the only person who over the decades loved that man for who he was as a person.

    I was around Annie when you and Nick first met. I know he counted himself one lucky chap that you showed interest in him too! Those days seem like yesterday – really happy days I think for us all. Nick was a truly great man and perhaps the first person in my life whom I came to admire.

    Nick put into life more than he took out. He supported and gave chances to others whilst expecting nothing in return. Today it’s still that huge smiling face I see in my mind’s eye. Thank you so much Nick for everything you did for me and countless others who passed through your life over the decades. And thank you too for your warm heart. You were a bloody lovely bloke and I’m really proud to have known you.

    My love and thoughts are with you and your children Annie all the way from Cornwall where I now live. philangell@aol.com

  42. Yesterday I was in a restaurant in London and met some people from Norwich. Their son was at UEA and I was waxing lyrical about a hero of mine called Nick who ran the Ents there. How he had made 1000s and 1000s of people’s time there so happy, how he brought the most incredible artists to play in the LCR for decades, how he put Norwich on the music map and what a kind and gentle giant he was, loved by everyone.Then I got home and heard the devastating news.

    Annie, like Phil I was a Sabbatical Officer in 1986/7 and have so many fond memories of Nick, his big smiling face, dry wit and sense of fun, the sound advice, nothing’s too much trouble attitude and of course I still marvel at the monumental work he put into UEA .

    I remember being in the Hong Kong with Litlun and Phil. Nick ordered a dish and sent it to our table to much hilairty. We’d never eaten Ducks Feet before!

    As a rookie Union Treasurer I hadnt a clue which bands to book but he always took time to explain why this band or that would be worth the risk. He included me even though I wasn’t really the decision maker! We “Wang Chunged” occasionally much to the chagrin of Vera Dye but for every slow seller there were 10 great sell outs!

    Coming back to the LCR in recent years to see so many amazing new bands brought a new excitment and meant I could catch up with Nick and Gav and watch the new generations of gig-goers enjoying Nick’s work. Even though he was busy, he always had time for a chat.

    Not knowing of his passing I was talking about him in a restaurant in London. Just think how many lives he has touched through the years, how many will still talk of him now and in the future – his influence is immeasurable.

    There will never be another Nick Rayns he was a truly special man. Thank you for being you.

    All my love and thoughts are with you Annie,

    Andy Mercer xx

  43. It’s over 30 years since I last saw Nick, but I am still very sad to hear this news whilst at the same time it brings back many great memories. I was Social Secretary at UEA in 1978/79, so I think I was the first under Nick’s time as Ents Officer. He certainly shook things up, with, I hope, a little help from the great Ents team he had below him. Just a few of his achievements: Eurythmics in the early days – tickets £1 even though they’d charted. Dexys just as Geno was released and we transferred the gig from Horsham to the LCR. U2 on their first or second gig outside Ireland – they arrived with all their gear in a transit van and after the van Bono and I drove round the car park on the roof (don’t know why!). And plenty more. Fantastic bloke.

  44. As an electrician working for the Uea for 35 years I have known Nick as ents, manager very well. His skill in raising the standards of gigs from where the bands put their own gear up to the big time bands is unbeatable,and the venue is recognised by roadies as one of the best in the circuit.
    Nick, your friendly character and presence will be sadly missed.
    My condolences to the family
    Mick Parry

  45. I had the pleasure to meet Nick once, when I was trying to organise a film event at UEA. He was extremely helpful and very professional. I was saddened and shocked by this news, and I am sure those that knew him well will miss him sorely. In my book, anybody who promotes and works hard for the arts, as Nick did, makes a wonderful contribution to life.

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  48. Great man. I can see him standing at the back of the LCR watching Sigue Sigue Sputnik in disbelief. As were we all. About 1985. Nick was wonderful, ceaselessly patient with leg-warmer wearing blaggers (me…) keen to share a sandwich with Siouxsie and the Banshees, interview The Communards and generally get in the way. Great guy and best events boss ever. It’s only when you look back at the frankly stormin UEA gigs (84 -87) you realise what a genius he was and how much graft he put in. There is a light that never goes out: The Smiths.

  49. So sad to hear the news. He was a lovely man, who will be sadly missed.

    Nicola Sainsbury (Union Academic officer, 1991-3)

  50. So sorry to hear the sad news. I didn’t know Nick personally but I was a student in the late ’70s and benefited from his great ability to attract interesting bands and performers. He was also a friend of my best friend at the time so we met occasionally. He played an important part in my life as a student at UEA and will be greatly missed.

  51. On behalf of UEA LINKS I would like to send heartfelt condolences to Nick’s family. Nick gave us a lot of support within the union for each one of our first aid duties at the LCR, and we have all been deeply saddened by this news Many of our members had a great deal of contact with Nick throughout the years and even those who didn’t wished to pass on their thoughts and sympathies. His enthusiasm for the union and life in general will always be remembered! Nick you will be sorely missed at UEA, and thank you for all that you did for us and everyone else in the union!

  52. I have very fond memories of working for the Ents team of which Nick was integral. I know he will be very much missed. His presence was always felt & always positive. I wish the best of luck to his family & I would like to say thank you to Nick for your contribution to my life.

  53. Nick was like a second father to me when I left home after university to work for Ents. I could write a book on all the good times and laughs we have had over the years doing 1000s of gigs and discos.
    I was proud to be his right hand man and stage manager for 32 years. Rest easy big fella…
    Kev

    • By a strange cooincidence I saw Nick in the LCR just last Summer whilst looking around campus after a very long absence from Norwich. I hadnt seen him for 30-odd years since you and I Kev were at Uni together. We had a good chat and he was a pleasure to talk to about old times. I remember giving him some not-so-good but pretty trivial news, maybe about ticket sales at Horsham or something and being swept off my feet – literally – in a bear hug whilst i collapsed with laughter. Such good memories.

  54. I was at UEA in ENV and on the Ents Team from 1977 to 1980 with Nick. He was Social Sec and then Ents Officer. It was a fantastic time and he was a a great man. He really galvanised UEA on the circuit and we got some amazing acts on in that period, sometimes probably punchinmg above our weight. It was all down to Nick. There was no nonsense with Nick. If something needed sorting, he’d sort it.

    But Nick also had a wonderful aspect to him that went beyond the need to get the job done properley: his friendship, his love of daftness, his laugh and his smile, and his willingness to help those who needed it. He was a great, great man and I have many fond and lasting memories of my time with him. Nick was an important part of my life. I haven’t seen him for many a year, but I will miss him and will always remember him.

    My sympathy and condolences to Nick’s family.

    Rest In Peace Nick x x x

  55. Enormously sorry to hear this – Nick was a constant through my UEA days in the early 80s and we continued to cross paths for many years when I was working in the area, and later when I ran Inspire we’d see each other at various meetings and events for Norwich cultural organisations. He was always a cheery and easy-going presence and had an amazing eye for great bands. I can recall seeing Echo and the Bunnymen, The Cramps, Simple Minds, Dexys, all within 100m of my room at Horsham, and I don’t think I’ve ever been to a better show than the Specials/Madness/Selector one he put on, then there were all the Costello and Jam gigs….. I could go on. Nick was the John Peel of UEA and will be as sorely missed.

  56. Such terrible and unexpected news!
    I knew Nick through 5 years working in the grad bar and a long stint volunteering through LINKS.
    I’ll always remember his disapproving looks of girls wearing far too little (usually while Paddy stood next to him chuckling) and how he used to shake his head in disbelief.

    He was always there to help anyone out and his untimely death will be a sad loss to everyone who knew him.

  57. I had the privilege of knowing Nick for 32 years when he first started managing Screen 3, from then on I worked for him on and off as DJ, roadie and duty manager. He always managed to get me to do more than I thought I would have to, usually for less money than I thought I was getting! He was a lovely bloke and looked out for me. Even though I had only been in touch sporadically over recent years I was deeply affected by the sad news last week. Love goes out to Annie and the kids. My abiding memory…”get a receipt!”

    Peter

  58. I too have very fond memories of my involvement with Ents from 1983-88 and regular visits later until I moved overseas in 2000. Great times with a disparate bunch of desperados, including Kev, Paul and Tony above, led by Nick.
    Nick had the knack of getting on well with everybody and motivating us to work well as a team. Not least because of the work he put in himself, very long hours and hard physical effort. Many tour managers were surprised when looking for Nick to be told he was ‘in the back of the truck’.
    I gained confidence and learned a lot from Nick and the rest, including how to repair clothes with gaffa tape, of course.
    Best wishes to all he left behind, he’ll be a hard act to follow.

  59. My sincere condolences to Nick’s family and colleagues. I was a student at UEA from 1979 to 84, and have vivid memories of the amazing gigs Nick put on – Blondie and Elvis Costello spring to mind. I came back to UEA as a member of staff at the Sainsbury Centre from 1990 to 2008, and remember Nick’s help and support with some really great events at the Sainsbury Centre, enabling us to push the envelope by providing us with late bars, event security, union disco equipment and so on. He was a remarkable man, who ‘did different’ in true UEA style and helped to make UEA and Norwich a very special place for thousands of students, staff and local people over many years, putting UEA and Norwich on the map for bands to tour to, and making it the kind of place where new, young bands thrived. He will leave a big gap and be very badly missed.

  60. Nick, you were full of life and always there. You were such a lovely man and was always ready to give advice and support when needed. I remember you being here sometimes into the late hours making sure all was run smoothly, I also remember you with your old coins and telling me which were the best to put aside for a rainy day (good advice and I have done it).
    It is with great sadness that we all have to say goodbye to you, you will be hard to replaceand will be so missed.
    God bless your family, friends and all that knew you.

  61. A giant in every sense of the word! When I heard the news today from Trevor Philips, it came as a real shock because Nick was always the same age – young. I bumped into him two years ago, when back at UEA for the first time in nearly thirty years. I can’t say that I was surprised to see him still running Ents – and it felt as though no time had passed at all. I have very fond memories of him and his team – Kevin Minns springs to mind – from the year of the great miners strike in 1984-85, when I was UEASU President. Also memories of stowing away in the back of a band’s van, and bottling it down the Unthank Road. Very political times back then, but I was never in any doubt that Nick was always on the side of the good guys. Norforlk, Norwich & UEA will you miss him!

  62. i was very sad to hear of Nick’s passing…to this day i still tell friends and family of all the great concerts and bands we were able to see at UEA, under Nick’s watch, rarely for a cost above 50p…Annie Lennox to name but one.

    RIP Nick….and thanks again for the memories

    Shep

  63. A key part of UEA for all us, it won’t be the same without him. He was very astute and we were all lucky to have had him as part of our university experience. Amazing to see all these comments from people I know thirty years ago.

  64. I have just heard from Tony Foley that Nick passed away last week.

    I remember fondly the many years I spent at UEA from 1979; most of my time there was spent with Nick and ENTS rather than studying – I was studying history of Art after all. I remember most of all the laughs, hard work with long hours, many of those hours spent driving in an assortment of second hand vans around the Norfolk area – setting up and breaking down discos and band’s PA systems all through the night. Strangely enough it never seemed like hard work at all and this was mostly down to one man that made it so much fun and that was Nick.

    When I think back to those times I spent with Nick, Annie and all the team I feel happiness. At the moment I look back with tears and sadness for Nick. I look forward to when I can look back again and laugh at the memories instead of cry.

    It was my privilege and pleasure to have known him and my thoughts are with Annie and the children at this very sad time.

  65. Thank you for all those great nights. The legacy you leave for Norwich on the music map is tremendous. I had the pleasure of teaching Nick’s two lovely daughters and Nick gave my fifteen year old son the best work experience week ever! [Unofficial of course].

  66. Very sad news. Nick has always been part of conversations about our time at UEA in the 80s and it was lovely to see him again 18 months ago when Neil and I went back for another Squeeze gig. He was responsible for so much fun and so much great music. UEA will not be the same without him.

  67. Nick was my first “boss” and I have yet to find a better, he accepted me when the university and others rejected me and I cant imagine the feelings of loss those closer to him must experiencing. A truly wonderful person.

  68. It was down to Nick that my three u/g years at UEA (1981-84) were jam-packed with fantastic gigs. I ran into him many times whilst working on Phoenix, and he was always friendly and helpful. He’s been a familiar sight around the campus (‘Plain’!) for decades. It’s a shock, and a loss to us all.

  69. Thank you to Nick for tolerating (always with a smile) my musical ambitions with local band “The Strawberry Garden” in the 80’s. I even gently hassled him at his house on Riverside road as I was only a few doors away. He stood out with his natural charisma, and he has left an incredible legacy behind for his family to be rightly proud of. – David

  70. So sad to hear the news about Nick. He was so fundamental to my UEA experience, from going to see him on my first day at UEA as a stroppy upstart wanting to work for ENTS and change the world, to working with him and realising he had changed the musical world and landscape at UEA by making some amazing bookings, and just being an all round good bloke. He was fun to work with and was always around. I can’t imagine what his family are going through and my thoughts are with them. A great loss.

  71. Losing Nick is a tremendous sadness for many colleagues at the University. He has been responsible for many “nights to remember” including helping me to deliver some staff parties at the turn of the century, which we still talk about as a great success. His character, long experience and general unflappability made things which might have seemed a challenge just happen. A great guy to work with.

  72. I will truly miss Nick. I’ll remember him as my mums boss for 22 years. But also mine for a long period of time too. I worked for him handing out leaflets, collecting plastic cups and anything else I could have done to go along to gigs. I’ve seen some amazing acts (Robbie Williams, Coldplay), and also some weird ones (Trev and Simon, Rolf Harris). The Ents team won’t be the same without him and I want to thank him for making the Norwich love music scene what it is today. Lots of love to his amazing family xx

  73. I worked for Nick as Entertainments Assistant in Ents and as Admin Assistanrt at the Waterfront (2004-2006). I will always remember Nick for his calmness and kindness. He always had time to talk and never seemed fazed by anything. I feel very priveleged to have known and worked for him. He wil never be forgotten xxx

  74. These comments are testament to what a truly unique and special man Nick was … many people entering his world for a brief 3/4 years whilst at UEA but the admiration for him lasts for ever. I pushed flightcases for him in the early/mid 80’s … neglected my studies but ended up doing it for a living and spent the next 20 years touring the world with bands, in fact I am still doing it… I went back to UEA a couple of times and it was always a pleasure to see Nick and ‘blame’ him for my predicament! Rest in peace Nick, and thanks for booking Roy Harper and It Bites at my nagging …

  75. Memorable bands (good and bad) I saw thanks to nick included the smiths, the icicle works, madness, public image limited, tears for fears, imagination, boomtown rats, the alarm, the fall, the red guitars, billy bragg, sss, sisters of mercy, sister sledge, and many more I have forgotten. Is there a list of all the gigs he arranged? He changed peoples lives. Rip.

    • We have just compiled a list of all the bands that have been put on at the Union. Pretty much all of them were overseen by Nick. We’ll be finding some way to share the list with people at some point in the future.

  76. I was a student at the UEA from 93 to 97 and worked for Nick, truely a gentleman.
    Currently I live in the US so I was shocked to recently read of his death.
    Nick was such a professional and will be the hardest act to follow ever at the LCR.

  77. I was at UEA in the 1980s and Nick Rayns was a legend even then. I remember arriving for a new term and checking out what bands were on and being amazed at what was booked- established bands and bands on the up…. an amazing man- RIP

  78. Really sorry to read about this. I was at UEA from 1977-80 and was on the Ents team that Nick ran. He was the man who brought so many great bands to the place: Stiffs tours, Elvis Costello, The Jam, The Ramones……the list goes on and on! He really knew his stuff, and was a great influence on us all. R.I.P. Nick. Condolences to his family.

  79. I was at UEA in the early 1980s (81-84). I didn’t know Nick Rayns but he was already a legend. I remember the fantastic open-air discos in the summer. Most of all, I recall how well people spoke of him. These were people who worked for him and you can’t get a better recommendation than that.

  80. Wow, just browsing for a trip down memory lane and I stumbled across this. I cant recall Nick by face but by name he was definitely part of my history at UEA 1977-80 and the comments about his contribution to the student experience are echoed. Sorry for your loss.

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