Two days after Horton Hospital staff celebrated the NHS’s 70th, it was Radio Horton’s time in the spotlight as they marked 54 years of broadcasting with the announcement of a new initiative.
The event at Radio Horton studios on July 7 saw volunteers and dignitaries including the Mayor of Banbury, Cllr Shaida Hussain, Radio Horton vice president, Jeremy Wilton and president of the Hospital Broadcasting Association, June Snowden, gather for celebration and news of the stations first outreach program.
Radio Horton chairman, Anthony Brown said: “We’ve been working on several projects over the past 12 months including our Horton Memories Project and an exciting new venture which we are working with BBC Radio Oxford on its new Banbury Takeover programme, together with other community radio stations and I’d encourage our volunteers to embrace this excellent opportunity.
He added: “Soon, after much anticipation, we plan to begin broadcasting to our very first care home, and it is hoped that we can extend the provision of our service to many more.”
Over the last 54 years, the station has consistently kept up with the changing demands of modern technology and patient interest.
The station is available online giving listeners the ability to listen from the comfort of their own home.
This continued evolution now sees the station branching out to care and nursing homes with the first of its trial services rolled out last week.
The station has long ventured from its recently upgraded hospital studios and was shortlisted for an award from the Hospital Broadcasting Association for its coverage of last year’s Fairport Convention festival.
The station also routinely broadcasts from other charitable events within the Banbury area.
On her first-time visit to the Radio Horton studios, president of the Hospital Broadcasting Association, June Snowden expressed her delight to hear that the station was planning on broadcasting to local care homes and community organisations beyond the walls of the hospital.
She also indicated that it was the approach and direction that many other hospital broadcasting stations were now evolving towards.
Radio Horton has evolved immeasurably from its humble beginnings when it came to life in 1964, masterminded by two local journalists, the late Ted Hanson MBE and Graham Wilton.
Radio Horton broadcasted to wards once a week and programmes were pre-recorded on tape from Graham’s home.
Like all hospital radio stations, Radio Horton is kept on-air by a small but dedicated of group of volunteers.
As the station celebrated 54 years of broadcasting, long service volunteers were also recognised.
They were recognised with Long Service Certificates, presented by the president of the Hospital Broadcasting Association, June Snowden.
Certificates were awarded to Maria Mayo for 10 years of volunteering; John Mayo for 20 years of volunteering and
Colin Beeby for an incredible 30 years of service to Radio Horton.
Mr Beeby was also presented with the Radio Horton Wilton Memorial Trophy by Banbury Mayor, Cllr Shaida Hussain, for outstanding contribution to Radio Horton.
Mr Beeby said: “I am completely overwhelmed. I really didn’t expect it [the Wilton Memorial Trophy], and I feel very pleased to have been recognised in this way.”
Mayor Hussain said: “I would like to convey my congratulations to Colin, this is a fantastic achievement.
“Thanks must also go to the volunteers because they are such an integral part of your team, and I wish you every success for the next 54 years.”
Despite the efforts of those recognised the station is always looking to recruit new volunteers to the fold.
Yvonne Blencowe, voluntary service manager with Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation
Trust, said: “We need to promote volunteering in the hospital, it’s a hospital that’s here in Banbury and it is very precious to us all.
“Radio Horton has its branding and is well recognised in the local community.”
She added: “People who want to come into broadcasting, they might want some work experience or to help give something back in their spare time, they can get out onto the wards, talk to patients and participate in the broadcasting that you do.”
For more info on volunteering visit www.radiohorton.co.uk.