Sir Ray has spent 68-years in the regional press industry and runs Tindle Newspapers, which owns weekly titles across the South of England and Wales.
He launched his first newspaper aboard a troopship at sea during the Second World War and started his publishing company using his army demob payment of £300.
Speaking at Tuesday’s lunch at the Savoy in London, Sir Ray said: “The newspaper industry should be very proud that for over 200 years we have coped with each problem as it came along.
“To face the current difficulty we’ll achieve more local advertisement revenue and we’ll redesign our businesses in order to ensure that local papers can live out of that new level of revenue, whatever it is. Local papers are wanted and needed by local communities. They will live forever.
“I got a job on a local weekly and I wouldn’t change one day of a wonderful 68 years in the local press. The locals will survive because no other medium gives local news in depth the way local papers do, and local people want this detail.
“Local papers are the only medium most locals will ever appear in, and when they do, that’s the medium in which all their neighbours and friends will see it, and so local papers will always be there.”
Ashley Highfield, the NMA’s current chairman, told Sir Ray at the lunch: “Never before in the history of the British press has there been a publisher quite like you. We salute you, Ray, for your three years of war time service.
“We applaud your 68-year career and over 55 years of wise counsel to the NMA and the NS before it. We thank you for the marvellous lunch we are enjoying today. And we wish you continued success, prosperity and good health throughout your 90th year and beyond.”
Over course of his career, Sir Ray has held numerous roles within the news media industry. He was a founder member of Capital Radio and a member of the Guardian Media Group board for nearly 20 years.
He launched the Weekly Newspaper Advertising Bureau and has been Master of the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers.
Sir Ray also served on the Newspaper Panel of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission and was a member of the Commonwealth Press Union council, as well as being a founder director of PressBoF.