THE airwaves of Burnley Hospital Radio have fallen silent for the last time after 60 years of broadcasting to thousands of patients.
One former presenter, who has gone on to work for Sky Sports, called it ‘the end of an era’, while Burnley’s MP said it was a great loss.
Volunteers decided to pull the plug themselves as there were not enough patients at the hospital, but have moved equipment to the Royal Blackburn Hospital.
Clarets supporters being treated in Blackburn will still be able to hear live cov-erage of home games from the station’s sports team.
Former presenter Peter Smith said the station helped launch his broadcasting career, and he now reports on football games for Sky TV.
He said: “I was a volunteer at the radio station from August 1982 to March 1988. I can honestly say that they were among the best days of my life.
“I am very grateful for my time at the radio.
“It paved the way for a 25-year career and gave me some extremely memorable times.
“I met some fantastic people who volunteered there who were so ded-icated to what they did.
“I am truly sad to hear that it has closed.
“It is the end of an era.”
The station first broadcast in 1951 after solicitor Colin Sanderson and a fellow Round Table member saw a similar operation in Birmingham when following the Clarets.
It was funded by The Round Table until the 1970s when volunteers took it over.
At one stage, it was listened to by patients in the Victoria, the General, and the Marsden, in Burnley, Reedyford, at Nelson, and Hartley Hospital, in Colne.
Around 32 volunteer pres- enters and request collectors kept the station going.
Regular features included coverage of Burnley home and away games, a daily religious programme, and amateur operatic shows from the stage of the former Palace Theatre, in St James’s Street, Burn-ley.
Hazel Harding, Trust chair- man, said: “The volunt-eers themselves decided to cease broadcasting due to the change in patient mix at the Burnley General Hospital site.
“However, they have agr-eed with the hospital radio at Blackburn that they will continue to broadcast Burnley Football Club home matches, so patients can still listen to the game, and this broadcast also goes to a number of blind supporters who attend the game.”
Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said: “It deliv-ered a great service to patients in hospital.
“It made their day a lot easier by hearing the pres-enters’ cheery voices.
“It is a great loss,” he added.