May this year saw the enthused celebrations of 40 years of Pilgrim Hospital Radio – inspired by the dedication and commitment of all the volunteers over the 40 years PHR opened it's doors, studios, library and arms for all to come along and see and hear for themselves the stories, beginnings and transformation of this local institution. From the early days in a 'storage cupboard' to their current impressive studio, PHR has grown with the times both musically and technically.
In 1974, Mel Kennedy (left) his brother Martin and Mike Carson approached Pilgrim Hospital with the idea of in-hospital entertainment by way of a radio – a medium where patients can listen to music, request their favourite tunes and artists and keep up to date with local sport, news, events and people. The hospital agreed and consequently this free, voluntary entertainment service was born.
If you know the difference between Mono and Stereo and can remember a diamond stylus the chances are you may have spoken to one of the ward visitors from PHR or listened to one of the volunteer presenters who over the last forty years have been entertaining patients and staff. A group of hard working, dedicated people who give up their time to offer this unique and informative medium to our local medical institution.
Over the years outside broadcasts have brought interviews with the likes of Barry Sheene, Eddie Kidd, Seb Coe and Sir Bobby Charlton - even a link to the Royal Albert Hall in February 1978 for an interview with Dave Boy Green which was relayed back to the studio by Sports Programme Producer at the time Des Portas. A diverse array of people have been interviewed over the years from Ken Dodd (right - interviewed by Des Portas) to Dr Magnus Pyke, from Alvin Stardust to Lesly Garrett. PHR still have their own 'press box' at BUFC's ground today and reports are sent back to the studio via Ernie Napier, keeping listeners updated with all results. PHR has been involved locally with many sporting institutions including Boston Speedway, the Sea Angling Club, Boston Amateur Boxing Club and of course the Seabank Marathon.
PHR continues to entertain patients and staff today and is proud of its 40 year history. The recent celebrations gave the people and families who have been entertained over the years the chance to see where and how PHR operates, meet the presenters past and present and to see the two newly refurbished studios and impressive library with collectable vinyl from floor to ceiling all catalogued and stored on the new computer system. People were even encouraged to come along and have a go at presenting a show - after all, the likes of Chris Moyles, Scott Mills and Ken Bruce all started their careers at Hospital Radio!
All Hospital Radio Stations are run by dedicated volunteers and local sponsorship. Most large hospitals have their own stations and all offer a localised service of information, entertainment and encouragement to people during what can sometimes be difficult and stressful times. PHR is no exception and they hope to run for at least another 40 years plus and although it will move with the times technically and musically, the fundamentals will always remain – to offer a personalised local service to the patients and staff at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.