Last week saw the commemoration of two very special events take place at the Horton General Hospital, as the NHS celebrated seventy years on 5th July, Banbury’s hospital radio station, Radio Horton was also preparing for a ceremony of its own birthday, which took place two days later.
On Saturday 7th July, Radio Horton held an event at its studios which saw volunteers and dignitaries including the Mayor of Banbury, Cllr. Shaida Hussain, and Radio Horton Vice President, Jeremy Wilton who gathered to take part in the celebrations in which long standing volunteers were recognised with Long Service Certificates presented by the President of the Hospital Broadcasting Association, June Snowden.
Certificates were awarded to Maria Mayo (10 years); John Mayo (20 years) and Colin Beeby (30 years). Mr Beeby was also presented with the Radio Horton Wilton Memorial Trophy by Cllr. Shaida Hussain for outstanding contribution to Radio Horton. “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”, said Beeby.
Cllr Hussain added: “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”.
Radio Horton came to life in 1964 and was masterminded by two local journalists, the late Ted Hanson MBE and Graham Wilton. In the days of its formation, Radio Horton broadcast to the wards once a week and programmes were initially pre-recorded on tape from Graham’s home.
Over the last 54 years, the station has consistently kept up with demands of modern technology and patient interest, offering listeners the ability to listen from the comfort of their own home via the internet. This benefit has recently been realised as the station is now branching out to care and nursing homes in the region and as Radio Horton celebrates its birthday, this week launches the first of its trial services.
Radio Horton Chairman, Anthony Brown announced: “We’ve been working on several projects over the past twelve 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.
“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”.
Recently, two former Radio Horton volunteers, Stewart Green and Ian Fleming were invited to Buckingham Palace in recognition for their voluntary services, and earlier this year Radio Horton itself was shortlisted for an award from the Hospital Broadcasting Association for its coverage of Fairport’s Cropredy Convention.
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, adding that it was the approach and direction that many other hospital broadcasting stations were now evolving towards.
Radio Horton holds strong ties with the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH), and Voluntary Services Manager, Yvonne Blencowe told guests that OUH now has more than one-thousand volunteers across its four hospital sites. “Volunteers want to come to the Horton. 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”.
“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. But most of all Radio Horton takes your message to patients, you are providing them with music and enjoyment, and relieving that boredom for patients, so thank you”, Blencowe added.
After a brief hiatus from celebrations to watch England play Sweden in the World Cup Quarter Finals, Radio Horton volunteers continued working through the night, providing public address and entertainment for budding walkers at the Katharine House Hospice Midnight Walk and at Broughton Castle Cycling Sportive on Sunday.
Radio Horton encourages anybody interested in volunteering to get in touch. The station is looking for volunteers to help front its new Care Home request programme, which will feature music requested by the residents of local care homes or their families.
Any care homes wishing to take part in the new service will be provided with an internet radio at no cost. More details can be obtained by contacting the station.