Monday, 10 April 2017


Gilly, Duchess of Winsford, in the studio at Radio Leighton, shortly before the end of Relax With The Lathams on the 30th September 2011.
 The Duchess is, appropriately, reading a book about letter writing etiquette
Virginia Baker in the Radio Leighton presenters' studio in 1989. 
I'm writing this on the 30th September 2016 simply to mark the fifth anniversary of the end of my involvement with hospital radio, exactly five years ago. 
It wasn't deliberately planned but the final incarnation of our Friday night show, Relax With The Lathams (a title invented not by us but by Radio Leighton) came to an end on BBC Radio One's 44th birthday.
I loved doing those Friday night shows, even though other commitments (and illness from time to time) meant that I couldn't be there every Friday night.
My involvement with the South Cheshire Hospital Broadcasting Service (SCHBS) or Radio Leighton as it became known  started in 1989 when I read an advertisement in the Crewe Chronicle asking for volunteers to present programmes on our local hospital station.
I went along and started to present Radio Leighton's Friday Night Show with Virginia Baker of Nantwich, with RL stalwart Chas Pawsey doing the engineering.
After a while Virginia moved on and Gilly Latham and her husband Keith came along thus beginning  a long and fruitful association culminating with Relax With The Lathams.
Many other people were involved with the show over the years, including the 'Radio Monkeys', Norma Peel, and Daniel Paddick and his amazing parents, and I hope to write a lot more about them and  about Radio Leighton and hospital radio in general  in the years to come.
People in what you might call the 'mainstream media' can sometimes be inclined to look down a little on hospital radio. 
As if it's, somehow, a little 'second rate' and fit only to be run by amateurs.
In fact, the very opposite is true: Hospital Radio is in the 'front line'; more than any other type of radio station it has the power to connect directly with listeners.
And, to put it very simply, to make them feel better.
Now what better use could radio be put to than that?


Here's the song I chose as my farewell to Radio Leighton on Friday as the Duchess and I, Mr Latham, Dan The Man and his dad Alan, not forgetting the long-serving Chas Pawsey on technical duties, bade farewell to the station after 22 years of the Friday Night Show. We hope Dan and Alan will be back on the station soon, and that some of our recorded shows will be broadcast there too, but 'Relax With The Lathams' is no more. This is one of the most beautiful songs ever written and, for me, says it all. DR


This first appeared on THE ODD EXCEPTION on 30th September 2016

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