Graham Coley, the founder and manager of Takeover Radio in Nottinghamshire, has died after a battle with cancer.
His condition unexpectedly deteriorated while on a family holiday in Spain. He was flown home and admitted to hospice and passed away on Sunday evening.
In 1998 Graham became a founding director of Takeover Radio nurturing it from short-term temporary radio licences to full time community radio stations, first in Leicester in 2001 and then Ashfield in 2010.
Following his early retirement in January 2016, Graham went full time into running Takeover Radio but was diagnosed with bladder cancer weeks before he was due to leave his management post elsewhere.
Graham’s friend and colleague Gareth Hussey wrote this tribute for RadioToday: “Graham lived and breathed radio and wanted to make a difference and give young people opportunities in radio and media. He gave me my first opportunity as a presenter in 2005 and later becoming station manager building their sister station Takeover Radio 106.9 in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire. His passion, knowledge and dedication was shared with hundreds of young people that walked through the door at Takeover Radio with a dream of working in media.
“Today some of those dreams came true with former young presenters now working for the BBC, Global Radio, Sky Sports and BT Sport. Graham created a legacy that will live on and continue to give the young people of Leicester an opportunity to fulfil their dreams. His door was always open and continued to give people like myself words of advice on life and in radio. He will be truly missed.”
A message on Takeover Radio’s Facebook page says: “Graham’s commitment and influence on generations of young people can never be underestimated. Many have forged careers in radio and television as a result of cutting their broadcasting teeth on Takeover Radio. He was Takeover’s backbone; dealing with all aspects of station management from fundraising to engineering and programming with a bit of carpentry thrown in for good measure. Even while his illness progressed, and he was in extreme pain, Graham would still spend as much time as he could working on the many all-consuming tasks involved in running Takeover.
“Graham’s legacy is Takeover Radio and the trustee’s intend for it to continue and grow, providing even more opportunities for young people and adults to gain experience in broadcasting and journalism.
“Graham was an extraordinarily dedicated man and we are distraught at the loss of our great friend, mentor and inspiration.
“Our thoughts are with Graham’s wife Mel and their family.”
Graham was also a founding member and Chairman of Hospital Radio Fox in Leicester.