After a mystery attacker poisoned guests at the charity gala, Alf’s wife Martha Stewart (Belinda Giblin) was left in grave danger, going into cardiac arrest.
Alf and daughter Roo Stewart (Georgie Parker) are terrified they might lose Martha, as the battle is on to save her life.
Things take an additional heartbreaking turn for the family when close friend Marilyn Chambers (Emily Symons) has a delayed and very serious reaction to the gas. Her organs start to fail and she’s put in an induced coma.
“Other people were affected on the night but seemed to shake it off reasonably quickly but for Martha it’s a real battle and for Marilyn it’s a real battle,” explained Ray.
While Marilyn’s life hangs in the balance, Martha pulls through enough for Alf and Roo to be allowed in to see her. But it’s not necessarily good news.
“The toxins affect the lungs and the kidneys and with Martha the doctors aren’t sure to what extent or how badly,” Ray added.
“It’s touch and go for a while and eventually they work out that her lungs aren’t too bad but her kidneys are the real problem.”
Ray teased that Martha’s life or death struggle is set to have huge consequences for them all when Martha is sent to a specialist renal unit in the city for dialysis.
“It’s whether or not they can fix her kidney problems – or how they go about fixing that.
“Does she need dialysis, or does she need a transplant? Or will any of this help her or is she too far gone for any of that?
“If she needs a transplant, where does she go for that? You need to find a match. There’s a lot of drama!”
Alf’s loving but sometimes fractious relationship with his daughter looks set to be pushed to the limit as they struggle to deal with the heart-wrenching situation.
“There are problems with Martha’s kidneys and then there are problems between Alf and Roo as to how they go about trying to help her with that,” Ray revealed.
“They have the same finish post in sight, they want the same thing but it’s how they go about it. They argue about it and bicker at each other.”
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Whatever the future holds for the family, Ray insists he’s hoping for a happy resolution. He’s very close to Georgie Parker, who plays Roo, Belinda Giblin, who plays Martha and Lukas Radovich who plays grandson Ryder Jackson.
"Georgie and I are great mates and I do love working with her and Lukas is terrific as Ryder, he’s a terrific kid. Belinda I’ve known for a hundred years. It’s a good little household that one!
“I hope it all settles down and I hope Alf and Martha can get back to a little bit the way they were when he convinced her to settle in Summer Bay.
“They knew what the other was thinking and they had these situations where they could have little friendly digs at one another and quips at one another.
“I’d love that to happen and I’d love for Roo to meet a nice man! Other than that, whatever storylines the writers set for us we’ll do the best that we can with them!”
Although Alf is having his struggles in Summer Bay, Ray and wife Gilly Meagher – a former nurse – are hoping to broaden their horizons a little more in 2022 and enjoy some travelling. Which means we may have a visit from soap legend Ray!
“We’re looking at coming over to the UK later in the year," revealed Ray.
"We were going to celebrate my wife’s 70th birthday in Scotland in 2020, but because of the situation, we couldn’t do it.
“Hopefully this year, everything will be more transparent and we can get over to the UK then.”
Home and Away airs weekdays at 1:15 pm on Channel 5 and 6:00 pm on 5Star followed by a 'first look' episode on 5Star at 6:30 pm.
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