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 Wednesday 12 December 2018

Our Service - On Air Since 1973

It's incredible to think that Radio Warneford started as "temporary entertainment" for just one Christmas back in 1973. We've come a long way since then. Here's a chronological timetable of the development of Radio Warneford.

A Brief History Of Radio Warneford

September 1973 - Miss Wells, the Warneford Hospital Secretary, gave Terry Brown, the hospital's Chief Engineer, and John Flaherty permission to start Radio Warneford in December, to provide entertainment for patients over Christmas.

December 1973 - John Flaherty and Geoff Nicholls ran Peggottys Disco together and this formed the basis of the studio. It began in a tiny basement room in the hospital and the Red Cross helped out by visiting patients and collecting requests. Programmes could be heard on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 7-10pm.

January 1974 - A schedule entitled "Wonderful Radio Warneford" was published and ran for three months. It was given to all the patients. Here's an extract from it:

April 1974 - Radio Warneford extended it's service to five nights a week.

July 1974 - Radio Warneford's first Annual General Meeting was held, a Committee elected and the setting up of a production team was discussed.

The 'Old Hut', Radio Warneford's home at the Warneford Hospital.

November 1974 - Mike Squire, who later went on to build Radio Warneford's current studio complex, joined the station, which celebrated it's first birthday with a dance in the Recreation Hall at the Warneford General Hospital - admission was 40p!

1975 - In this year Radio Warneford was registered as a charity.

January 1975 - Membership was now up to twenty-nine and an amendment to the station's Constitution was made. Here's an extract: "The object of Radio Warneford shall be to provide a personal radio service for the patients within the Warneford General Hospital."

April 1975 - New premises were needed and a hut, measuring 45 foot by 10 foot, was found on the site of a former power station. A purchase price of £300 was agreed and at the end of May, the Radio Warneford team began to dismantle the hut and transport it to its new home at the back of the Warneford Hospital.

December 1975 - Radio Warneford began broadcasting at the weekends with a Saturday Breakfast Show.

February 1976 - It was reported in the Morning News that Radio Warneford was extending its weekly output by starting a Sunday morning service.

December 1976 - In an effort to raise money and promote Radio Warneford, the station held a 72-hour, non-stop broadcast. It took place at 16 The Parade and began at midnight. Rod Goult, Station Controller at the time, said "We are desperately short of money so we have decided to put on a spectacular for the public."

Collecting requests

December 1978 - The Morning News reported the opening of the new studios in 'The Hut' featuring two broadcasting studios, a workroom, library and rest room. The complex was opened by Councillor Stanley Birch.

1982 - A further improvement was made to Radio Warneford's facilities with the opening of Studio 2, the centrepiece being a new ten channel mixer. The studio was officially opened by Mercia Sound DJ, Dave Jameson.

June 1984 - Leamington And County Golf Club nominated Radio Warneford as the local charity to receive funds from their Charity Weekend. The station was presented with a cheque for £700.

December 1987 - Radio Warneford staged a 24-hour broadcast from the newly opened Royal Priors Shopping Mall. Presenters sat throughout Friday night and all day Saturday playing records to raise funds.

October 1988 - Radio Warneford expanded its service to broadcast to Warwick Hospital via a landline. The service was launched by Sir Dudley Smith MP.

August 1989 - The Coventry Evening Telegraph reported: "A hospital radio network is to get new, purpose-built, studios at Warwick." These were the first studios at Warwick Hospital.

April 1990 - The first trial 'live' outside broadcast took place on Victoria Ward at the Warneford Hospital. It was a great success and was to be followed by many more, including 'live' Christmas Day broadcasts.

April 1992 - Radio Warneford's first Easter Egg Tombola was held. It was an enormous success and has become an annual event.

June 1993 - The Town Mayors of Leamington and Warwick agreed to become our joint Presidents.

September 1993 - Radio Warneford Productions was formed, with a trailer being obtained and transformed into a mobile broadcasting unit.

Construction work on Radio Warneford's new studio building at Warwick Hospital.

October 1993 - There was sadness and excitement as Radio Warneford's members locked up 'The Hut' for the last time and moved lock, stock and barrel to a new, purpose-built studio complex at Warwick Hospital.

June 1994 - After two devastating burglaries and two months off-air, Radio Warneford returned with a special all-day broadcast commemorating the 50th anniversary of D-Day.

October 1994 - Radio Warneford's new studio complex was officially opened by actor, singer and local boy Dave Willets with a 'handing over of keys' ceremony to Graeme Meanley, the station's Chairman at the time. The ceremony was attended by past members including one of the founders, John Flaherty. To celebrate it's 21st birthday, the station broadcast non-stop for 21 hours.

January 1995 - A new service called 'Patient Information' was launched, presenting information and features about the hospital, health issues and events.

June 1995 - Graeme Meanley, Radio Warneford's Life President, was awarded an MBE for services to charity in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

January 1996 - Radio Warneford carried out its first major survey of patients. One hundred and fifty patients answered questions during the eight week survey and the results showed that 60% of them had listened to the station during their stay in hospital.

April 1996 - Radio Warneford won the regional award for Station Of The Year in the British Telecom Hospital Radio Awards 1996. In addition, Radio Warneford was one of only three hospital radio stations nationwide to be nominated for the National Station Of The Year Award.

May 1996 - Radio Warneford was named Runner Up in the National Station Of The Year Award at a special ceremony at the top of the BT Tower in London, broadcast on BBC Radio 2.

August 1996 - The service was expanded further by the introduction of all-day Sunday broadcasting.

November 1996 - Radio Warneford broadcast a special programme from the centre of Warwick covering the visit to the town by Her Majesty The Queen.

March 1997 - Radio Warneford broadcast its first regular sponsored programmes with support from the Apollo 4 Cinema and Peters Booksellers.

April 1997 - Radio Warneford was named Regional Runner Up in the 1997 BT Hospital Radio Awards.

August 1997 - A junior membership scheme was launched to encourage youngsters with a keen interest in hospital radio. The Request Show received a revamp with a new "Name That Name" competition and regular games of Bedside Bingo.

1998 - Radio Warneford celebrates its 25th birthday with a host of special events and programmes.

April 1998 - The Apollo 4 Cinema in Leamington Spa held a special charity film premiere to raise money for Radio Warneford. Nearly 100 people paid £5 to watch the new movie US Marshals. The event raised more than £560.

May 1998 - Radio Warneford held a special Charity Pub Quiz at the Park Tavern in Warwick raising nearly £200.

July 1998 - Radio Warneford launched its own web site, one of the largest hospital radio web sites in the world!

John Power, our engineer

September 1998 - Radio Warneford hosted a special 25-hour non-stop Marathon Broadcast to celebrate its 25th birthday.

November 1998 - Radio Warneford rounded off its 25th birthday year with a special Gala Night at the Court House in Warwick. Members of the station were joined by civic dignitaries, special guests and former members for a celebration of the station’s achievements since 1973.

December 1999 - Radio Warneford moved its operations to a new studio complex in another part of Warwick Hospital to make way for new medical facilities.

June 2000 - Radio Warneford’s new studio complex was officially opened during the Warwick Hospital Open Day and League Of Friends Fête. EastEnders star Adam Woodyatt (Ian Beale) opened the fête and came to the studio for an interview.

November 2000 - The first Christmas Tombola was held at the Royal Priors Shopping Mall in Leamington Spa.

March 2001 - Leamington Round Table presented Radio Warneford with a cheque for £500 to go towards updating the studio equipment.

May 2001 - Radio Warneford was awarded the Bronze in the national Station Of The Year competition at the BT Hospital Radio Awards in Birmingham.

Radio Warneford wins the Bronze Award for Station Of The Year

Radio Warneford's Station Manager, Ley Bricknell (centre), holds
the glass trophy. With Ley are Sara Lister (left) and Valda Reid.

October 2001 - The Mayor of Kenilworth joined the Mayor of Warwick and the Mayor of Leamington as joint Patrons of Radio Warneford.

May 2002 - Radio Warneford enjoyed more success at the 2002 HBA Hospital Radio Awards in Glasgow, winning the Bronze Award for Station Of The Year for the second year running.

May 2002 - The station held its first 24-hour Request Show. Two members were sponsored to stay at the studio for the full 24 hours, raising £1,000 in the process.

March 2003 - Radio Warneford received a commendation in the Station Of The Year competition at the 2003 HBA Hospital Radio Awards in Slough.

April 2003 - State-of-the-art mini disc players were introduced, replacing outdated cartridge machines that had been in use since the early 1980s.

June 2004 - Radio Warneford staged a special day of programmes to commemorate the 60th anniversary of D-Day.

December 2004 - Greggs The Bakers made a very generous donation of £1,000.

Greggs present Radio Warneford with 1,000 GBP

Radio Warneford's Chairman, Keith Black, (left) is
presented with a cheque for £1,000 by the Greggs Trust.

April 2005 - Radio Warneford held an Open Evening as part of National Hospital Broadcasting Week. Guests included the Warwick Rotary Club, the League Of Friends Of Warwick Hospital, the Warwick Lions and the Warwick Round Table.

June 2005 - Radio Warneford began broadcasting in digital stereo on the new Premier bedside entertainment and information system at Warwick Hospital.

July 2007 - Radio Warneford began the continuous recording of its programme output using a new computerised logging system. The new facility enables us to monitor our programmes and archive important features and clips for the future.

2008 - MacGregor Ward moved to a new location in the hospital and joined the Premier bedside entertainment system allowing children to take part in our programmes.

November 2008 - Celebrations for Radio Warneford's 35th birthday reached a climax with a 35-hour non-stop Marathon Broadcast. The event was launched by BBC Coventry & Warwickshire presenter and former Radio Warneford member, Annie Othen.

November 2008 - Three new Trustees were appointed – John Glare, Janet Bonsor and Andy Dowell.

Annie Othen (front) opens the 35 Hour Marathon with a special programme

March 2009 - At the HBA Hospital Radio Awards in Blackpool, Radio Warneford received a commendation in the Special Event category for its 35-Hour Marathon Broadcast.

March 2009 - Sainsbury's began its sponsorship of Radio Warneford's Easter Egg Tombola.

December 2009 - Internet and email access was introduced as part of the new studio computer network.

March 2010 - Radio Warneford launched a Twitter account to promote the station and encourage interaction from members – www.twitter.com/RadioWarneford .

August 2010 - Radio Warneford held its first BIG Music Weekend, a 35-hour non-stop broadcast over the Bank Holiday weekend.

October 2010 - The Radio Warneford Players held the first read-through of a special adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol for the 2010 Christmas schedule.

February 2011 - Radio Warneford launched an account on Facebook – www.facebook.com/radiowarneford .

March 2011 - Two collaborative items were added to the schedule – Food News on Monday nights in conjunction with the Dietetic Department and Physio Time on Tuesdays produced with the Physiotherapy Department.

March 2011 - Radio Warneford's first MP3/USB player was installed in Studio One.

November 2011 - The late Graeme Meanley MBE, who was Radio Warneford’s Life President, left the station a substantial legacy in his will.

February 2012 - Radio Warneford is shortlisted in two categories for the 2012 HBA Hospital Radio Awards – Station Of The Year and Best Station Promotion.

December 2012 - Radio Warneford broadcast Aladdin, the first pantomime recorded by members of the Radio Warneford Players.

March 2013 - Radio Warneford wins Bronze in the Special Event category at the 2013 National Hospital Radio Awards for its coverage of the 2012 Olympic Games Torch Relay as it passed through South Warwickshire. The station was also named as a finalist in the Station Promotion category for its Sweeney Todd promo.

July 2013 - Radio Warneford presented a live show from the Leamington Rotary Charity Raft Race along the River Avon between Leamington Spa and Warwick. Liam Dillon-Cambridge and Andrew Barker braved the weather at the finish line to cover the final stages of the race and interview the winners. The Leamington Rotary made a very kind donation of £250.

August 2013 - Radio Warneford's 40th birthday celebrations began with a special BIG Birthday Broadcast. The station was on air for 37 hours non-stop over the August Bank Holiday weekend and amongst the programmes were interviews with some of Radio Warneford's longest-serving volunteer members. See the schedule.

There's lots more to come..!

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