Soon after visiting his doctors, the star – who has been at the centre of the series for more than three decades – was back in the operating theatre. This time, however, Ray had a life-saving stent inserted to “fix another blockage”.
Now back in top form as he relishes both his time at home with his wife, Gilly, and on set with his castmates, Ray truly believes he has been given a third lease of life.
“It’s all done now, and I’m sure everybody played their part,” he says. “I’ve never been fitter and have been working long days on Home and Away. We’ve been trying to catch-up on what we dropped in the nine weeks we were closed down during COVID.”
Earlier this year, Alf married his long-time love, Martha (Belinda Giblin). His first wife, Ailsa (Judy Nunn) passed away.
More than ever, Ray is a firm believer in listening to your body and seeking medical advice when any concerns arise. “Heart disease is a major killer in Australia,” he says. “I encourage everybody to have a check-up – to go and see the doctor. The heart is the motor under the bonnet and if you haven’t got that going, you’ve got nothing.
“So, if your body is telling you it’s a bit crook, you can’t just ignore it.”
For more information, visit heartfoundation.org.au or phone 13 11 12.
Ray tells: ‘Gilly’s the best cook’
Standing quietly by Ray’s side behind the scenes is his beloved wife, Gilly, a former nurse.
“She’s absolutely fantastic,” he says, revealing Gilly has always been an incredible support to him.
Indeed, as Ray also told New Idea shortly after his first heart surgery: “I really don’t know what I would have done without Gilly. Once a nurse, always a nurse.”
Also true, he now says with a smile, is that Gilly is a wonderful cook!
“I think that it’s fair to say that I’ve got a pretty balanced diet, and that’s all thanks to Gilly, too,” he says. “There are probably three or four things I can cook, but I never get near the place. Gilly enjoys cooking and I enjoy eating, so we’re a natural-born team! I’m a lucky man indeed!”
For more, pick up a copy of New Idea. On sale now!