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Goodmayes Hospital Radio celebrates four decades of broadcasting

PUBLISHED: 12:00 31 October 2015

Goodmayes Hospital Radio has been pumping music, quizzes and requests across the airwaves since 1975, lifting the spirits of its patients, hospital staff and visitors.

To commemorate reaching its 40th anniversary, the station is holding a “rolling day” of celebrations with balloons, cake, buffets and interviews.

Martin Levin, presenter and treasurer of the Jumbo Sound, said: “You look back and you don’t know where the years have gone, but I am so proud to be a part of it and give back to the community.

“We have bought lots of balloons with ‘40’ on them and I am incredibly relieved that I have located where my balloon pump is.”

My heart was hammering

I have always been a fast talker and with the exciting prospect of speaking on radio, my pace would probably double if not treble, writes reporter Elena Cruse.

Repeating the mantra “speak slow, speak slow” in my head I entered the studio and was greeted by a smiling resident DJ Stanley Rust.

Stanley has hosted a show on The Jumbo Sound for the past few years and I was keen to know if he had any tips. “Just be yourself” he said. “That’s all you need to do.”

Taking a deep breath and trying not to shake I sat down in front of the control panel, which would have looked at home in the cockpit of a plane, and counted down the seconds until the light went red and my microphone would go live.

Stanley introduced me and I spoke about the newspaper before asking the presenters about their 40th anniversary celebrations.

A few seconds later – it felt like hours as my heart was hammering so hard – I signed off and Stanley put on the next song.

I really enjoyed the experience and all the other volunteers were very friendly and welcoming.

Not only is it a great way give back to the community, but it is exhilarating and I left the station on such a high.

The station always needs volunteers – to find out more visit thejumbosound.com

During the celebration, which will be held on Saturday, visitors can look around the studio, get a tour of the building, and listen to patients – and the Mayor of Redbridge Cllr Barbara White – being interviewed live on air.

Previous members of the radio team have been invited back for the event, as has the president of Goodmayes Hospital radio station, writer and comedian Barry Cryer.

Barry regularly appears as a panellist on BBC Radio 4’s I Am Sorry I Haven’t a Clue and Just a Minute and Martin jokes: “When Barry arrives we can put him on the air all day and just sit back and listen- party sorted.”

The radio station, known as The Jumbo Sound, was first opened by West Ham legend Sir Trevor Brooking and equipment was installed by the Goodmayes Round Table.

They were established with a remit of informing, including and entertaining patients and the wider community, and to this day they keep this ethos at the very core of what they do.

With online listeners as far as Brazil, New York, California and Adelaide however, the shows clearly appeals to global communities as well.

“Music is therapeutic.” Adds Martin.

“It’s the same mentality at a football match, and if you all sing along together it gives everyone a boost and creates a great atmosphere- everyone feels a part of something.

“We are in an age where people only know the neighbours either side of their house and radio is so important for the community as it can reach out and help stop people feeling so isolated.”

In 2008 the station received a grant of £20,000 from the hospital to update their equipment and launch them into the digital age- the Trust “realised the beauty of what music can do.”

Queen’s hospital radio have also helped them to modernise their studio by updating software and training volunteers how to use it.

Goodmayes Hospital Radio air a variety of different shows to cater for as many people as possible including, big band jazz, sing a long to the 60s and a lunchtime quiz segment.

They also put on a Wednesday night mobile disco which the inpatients really look forward too.

Martin said: “Resident DJs take their discos to social clubs, wedding, schools and birthday parties and we do sponsored walks, music marathons and bucket collections outside supermarkets.

“It’s in our charter that we can’t advertise on air, so we have to fundraise to keep the station going in different ways.”

When they first opened in 1975, the radio team had around 40 volunteers creating programmes and hosting shows. Today they have a committed team of 12, who work round the clock to make sure the station keeps going.

The radio station would love to have more volunteers and as long as you are over 18-years-old you are more then welcome to join up and full training will be provided.

“I had free healthcare and free education growing up and I want to put back into my commuity by volunteering on the radio.” adds Martin

“It’s such an important service for the community and has the power to bring everyone together.”

For more information about the 40th celebration, or to find out about volunteering, visit: thejumbosound.com/volunteer or email martin.levin@thejumbosound.com


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