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Keith celebrates half a century ‘on air’ to York Hospital

Pictured: Keith Lea in the York Hospital Radio studio with the Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of York, Councillor Sonja Crisp, and the Lord Mayor's Consort, Mr Ian Crisp.

Saturday 25 July marked a very special day for one of the volunteer broadcasters at York Hospital Radio –it marked 50 years since Saturday morning presenter Keith Lea joined the radio station.

Keith has now joined an exclusive club of music broadcasters who have reached the 50-year milestone, hot on the heels of legends like the BBC’s Tony Blackburn and Annie Nightingale, who recently arrived at their half centuries. In hospital radio terms, only about a dozen other people nationally are thought to have clocked up 50 years.

Keith, 66, of Shipton Road in York, first went on air in 1965, and has been an active member of York Hospital Radio ever since! During his half century, he has been a broadcaster, technical operator, outside broadcast engineer, and secretary and later chairman of the organisation, as well as running its appeal to move to its then new studios in 1983. He also masterminded the station’s fundraising disco for 26 years until 1999.

He is the longest- serving member of York Hospital Radio, the registered charity which broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to patients in the York Hospital.

Keith joined the Ebor Tape Recording Club which had just linked up with the York Hospital Broadcasting Service in July 1965, and got involved with recording weekly request shows in a disused pathology laboratory at the old Fulford Military Hospital, shows which were broadcast to ten hospitals across the city.

Keith said: “I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for 50 years! Hospital radio has been with me throughout my professional career as a track engineer on the railways, and now in semi-retirement. I was inspired by the 50th anniversary of York Hospital Radio last year to get back into regular presenting, which just shows you can teach an old dog new tricks!

“I still love presenting news, music and views on Saturday mornings, and really can’t imagine my life without hospital radio in it!”

Ian Clennan, Chairman of York Hospital Radio, added: “Congratulations to Keith, who has been a mainstay of York Hospital Radio throughout almost its entire existence. He is a great example to us all, and I never cease to be impressed by his continuing commitment to the future development of our radio station.”

Keith’s 50th anniversary on 25 July was marked by a four-hour show from 9am which looked back at the music of the past 50 years, special guests dropped in to share their memories of Keith’s unrivalled time at the station, including the Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor of York, Councillor Sonja Crisp, our Chief Executive, Patrick Crowley, and hospital radio members old and new.

Pictured: Keith Lea showing Chief Executive Patrick Crowley the ropes during the 50th anniversary show.

27 July 2015

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