Friends pay tribute to 19-year-old music-lover Cameron Ray with special Smokehouse gig in his memory

Cameron Ray's friends lined up a gig in Ipswich in his memory

Cameron Ray's friends lined up a gig in Ipswich in his memory - Credit: Archant

Friends of a music-lover and aspiring filmmaker from Shotley who died aged 19 in August have paid tribute to the “biggest character” with a gig organised in his honour.

Cameron Ray (right) with brother Callan Ray and mum Debra Wheelright

Cameron Ray (right) with brother Callan Ray and mum Debra Wheelright - Credit: Archant

Cameron Ray died on August 5 after taking his own life – just weeks before he was set to go to university in Belfast to pursue his dream career as a filmmaker.

After learning of the loss of Cameron, his friends came together to organise a special gig in the music-lover’s memory, held at The Smokehouse on Saturday.

Hard rock band Kulk, friends of Cameron since sixth form, were joined by Con-party – a band Cameron had previously helped produce a music video for – as well as Solomon Holmes, Benie Davis and Jonathan Rogers.

Jade Squires, 19, who plays drums in Kulk and met Cameron while at One sixth form, said: “As a friend you feel helpless anyway, and we always used to connect with him through music, so we thought it was the best way to celebrate his life.”

Cameron Ray, who took his own life in August

Cameron Ray, who took his own life in August - Credit: Archant

The packed gig featured dozens of friends coming to celebrate his life, with door money raising more than £332 for charity Mind.

Jade said: “I wasn’t his closest friend but he just seemed to touch everyone really.

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“He really did care about other people a lot – it’s a cliche but he was the life and soul of the party.

“He was always controlling the music [at parties] and he was always recommending music.”

Solomon Holmes performing at The Smokehouse in Ipswich for the charity concert in memory of Cameron

Solomon Holmes performing at The Smokehouse in Ipswich for the charity concert in memory of Cameron Ray. Picture: NEIL LONGDIN - Credit: Archant

Kulk’s singer and guitarist Thom Longdin, 18, added: “He was the biggest character. He was always thinking of others and organising parties.”

On an online fundraising and memory page, Cameron was loved for his “incredible artistic mind” as well as his taste for bright shirts and “heartwarming smile”.

Cameron had been due to start university in Belfast in September, where he planned to continue pursuing his dream of becoming a film director by studying film. Jade and Thom said that he had even been working on a script for a film at the time of his death.

Following Saturday’s gig, Jade and Thom are hopeful to organise another event in celebration of Cameron’s life next year.

Matt Kemp (left) and Jonathan Rogers performing at The Smokehouse in Ipswich for the charity concert

Matt Kemp (left) and Jonathan Rogers performing at The Smokehouse in Ipswich for the charity concert in memory of Cameron Ray. Picture: NEIL LONGDIN - Credit: Archant

Jade added: “It was amazing in terms of the people who turned up. He went to The Smokehouse for a lot of gigs there so the venue was an obvious choice, and it was amazing to do it for the charity.”

To donate visit the online fundraising page in Cameron’s memory here.

Matt Kemp performing at The Smokehouse in Ipswich for the charity concert in memory of Cameron Ray.

Matt Kemp performing at The Smokehouse in Ipswich for the charity concert in memory of Cameron Ray. Picture: NEIL LONGDIN - Credit: Archant

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