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Hospital Radio stalwart dies

Plymouth volunteer Bob Smith, a man who devoted a significant amount of his adult life to furthering the cause of hospital radio in the city, has died.

Bob joined Hospital Radio Plymouth in its inaugural year in 1969 and spent most of the following four decades with the station. He passed away peacefully in Derriford Hospital on 9th July.

He was station controller in the late 1970s and most of the 1980s. He also presented features on the BBC’s Midday Parade and Morning Sou’West programmes in the 70s and went on to host a weekend programme on the former Radio in Tavistock commercial station in the 1980s.

He subsequently moved to London to manage the community station, Radio Thamesmead, and was bestowed honorary membership of Hospital Radio Plymouth on his departure in recognition of his work for the charity.

He returned to Plymouth in 1993, resuming his involvement in Hospital Radio. He took charge of the charity once more, for what was originally in his plan to be a short period but which in the event turned out to be a period of 14 years until ill health caused his retirement at the October 2007 AGM.

Current Hospital Radio Plymouth Station Manager, Andrew Hill, who knew Mr Smith for 25 years, said “Bob was very passionate about radio, both with the hospital radio and other stations he tried to get off the ground in Penzance, the South Hams and here in Plymouth.”

Mr Hill added, “Bob’s vision for Hospital Radio Plymouth led to it securing an FM broadcasting licence for the Derriford campus in 2000, one of the first hospital radios to get clearance for FM broadcasting. His flare over the years also resulted in us having a more imaginative programme schedule than many other hospital radio stations.”

Ward OBs, live broadcasts from temporary studios in City Centre shops during Christmas late night shopping, active coverage of local and national elections and commentaries of Lord Mayor’s Day and The Plymouth Marathon are among the many innovate broadcasts which took place under Mr Smith’s stewardship at Hospital Radio.

“We are saddened by his death. His presence will be missed but his influence will live on for many years to come,” concluded Mr Hill.

Mr Smith’s funeral is at Efford Cemetery at 1.30pm on Thursday 17th July 2008.

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