The Union expressed its “profound shock and sadness” last Tuesday (16 April) following the sudden death of its Entertainments Manager Nick Rayns, who worked for the Union for 34 years.
A statement on the UUEAS website said that Mr Rayns “passed away peacefully at home with his family.” The four full-time student officers said: “Nick was a larger-than-life character who will be sorely missed by all union staff and UEA students. Our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time.”
A former UEA student, Mr Rayns succeeded in bringing innumerable high-profile musicians and bands to UEA during his career, including U2 and Coldplay.
In a 2007 interview with the Eastern Daily Press, Mr. Rayns stated that he booked Robbie Williams for his first solo gig following his departure from Take That. Since then he has booked thousands of gigs and built long-term relationships between many big names and UEA.
Steve Howard, who composed an obituary for Mr. Rayns, worked alongside him for five years and stated that he was instrumental in helping to found both Livewire and Concrete.
He said: “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 of cash for refreshments (‘but make sure you get a receipt’).
“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 10ofusinthebackofavan,ortheodd free ticket to something.
“I would consider that Nick has made by far the greatest contribution to student life of any single person at UEA.”
Mr. Rayns leaves behind a partner of 26 years and three children.
Edited 29 April for spelling.