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Saturday, 04 July 2015

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Barrow hospital radio broadcasting loud and clear after 40 years

A VETERAN Barrow DJ says a hospital radio station has “a lot to answer for” as it gears up to celebrate the Big 4-0.

Furness General Hospital’s broadcasting service, Radio Lonsdale marks 40 years this year. It has provided thousands of patients with entertainment – and presenter Ron Duxbury with a wife.

The 65-year-old was one of the founding members of Radio Lonsdale and worked tirelessly to establish the station at FGH when it moved there in 1989.

It was an advert for a radio volunteer in the Evening Mail which brought him and his spouse Patsy together. Three years later they got married.

The pensioner, from Dunmail Raise, Barrow, says that, as well as love, the station has provided many with happiness, encouragement and entertainment during their stay at the hospital.

He added: “The whole ethos of the hospital radio is very different to any other form of radio. You can pop up and speak to the patients, have a bit of banter with them and generally cheer them up.”

As a tribute to Mr Duxbury, a dormant studio in the hospital has been reopened and renamed The RD Studio.

He said: “I was gobsmacked, extremely pleased and very, very surprised when I was told the studio was being named after me. It’s a great honour.”

Music and sketches had been provided at North Lonsdale Hospital since 1965, but it was in 1974 that the station became a registered charity and was named Radio Lonsdale. In its early days, presenters would take song lists around the wards and ask patients what they would like to hear, and became friends with those who were there for a long time.

Now the station has a phone-in system and uses a mix of old and new equipment to present daily shows. According to Mr Duxbury, the most requested songs over the years were Jim Reeves’ I Love You Because and Ken Dodd’s Happiness.

Also high up on the request list was One Day At A Time by Lena Martell.

At one time the service was down to two members but managed to add more staff and volunteers.

Mr Duxbury added: “The radio takes the patients’ minds off what they are going through and I am very proud of what it has achieved over the last 40 years.”

Have your say

Angela, thanks for your lovely comments. Feedback such as this makes it all worthwhile. We have a great team at Radio Lonsdale and it is a wonderfully rewarding hobby. Radio Lonsdale is always on the look out for new volunteers to ease the burden of our small team and at present we could do with some more presenters! Volunteers can leave a message on 01229 877877 at any time!

Posted by Peter Chesher MBE on 16 April 2014 at 10:55

Well done for brightening up the time spent in hospital, for so many people over the past 40 years. You, and all of your volunteers, are clearly dedicated to making a difference in our community. Volunteering your time and efforts for people who are unwell is commendable. Best of luck for the future.

Posted by Angela on 15 April 2014 at 20:58

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