Former Portsmouth DJ’s brush with death leads to him becoming charity super star

A FORMER DJ who was forced to give up his promising music career after narrowly dodging death has told how his newfound love of charity work has turned his life around.

Friday, 28th June 2019, 12:36 pm
Updated Friday, 5th July 2019, 7:33 am

Dad-of-three Ray Rowley was ‘minutes away from death’ after suffering an aortic aneurysm in 2012. The abnormal bulge on his heart could have burst, causing him to bleed to death.

Then aged 26, he was rushed from Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham to Southampton General where he underwent emergency open heart surgery to save his life.

And although he survived, the condition ruined Ray’s career as a DJ – which had seen him perform across Europe – causing him to spiral into depression.

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Ray Rowley (33) from Portsmouth, was minutes away from death after suffering from an shock aortic aneurysm at 26. He had to under go immediate open heart surgery which saved his life. That was in 2012. The issue cost him his job as a DJ as his health declined. Now he has said he wants to focus on his charity work. Ray has just held his first D-Day Ball, for the Poppy Appeal. Picture: Sarah Standing (270619-1979)

But now the 33-year-old’s life is on the up after having turned his eyes on helping others. He has become a fundraiser for the Poppy Appeal and last week staged his first event, a D-Day ball, raising £620.

‘I couldn’t believe how much we raised, it was absolutely fantastic,’ said Ray, of Tottenham Road, Landport.

Ray’s brush with death left him both physically and mentally scarred, he added.

‘I was 26 years old and had the world at my feet and then all the sudden it all came crashing down,’ he said.

Ray Rowley (33) with his wife Sarah (34). Picture: Sarah Standing (270619-1962)

‘I was a DJ on cruise liners and had just started doing the international circuit but I had to end all that because of my health. I was lucky to be alive.’

In a second blow, Ray was diagnosed with another aortic aneurysm, that’s being closely monitored, leaving him with depression.

But instead of accepting defeat, Ray fought back. With the support of his loving wife, Sarah, and their three girls, Libbie, 11, and twins Lottie and Maizie, five, he set up his charity fundraiser.

Held at Portsmouth’s Marriott Hotel, the ball was a sell-out success. Now he plans to stage a second charity event – a Christmas dinner and dance – at the hotel on Saturday, November 23.

Mayor of Portsmouth David Fuller, left, with Ray Rowley, Portsmouth DJ and event organiser, lady mayoress Leza Tremorin and Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council.

Ray added: ‘The D-Day Ball made a lot of difference. It took me out of this dark place.’