End of an era for hospital station

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WITH Sunnyside Royal Hospital due to close its doors later this year it is the end of an era for two volunteers who have co-ordinated the in-house radio station for 20 years.

Alan Collins (80) and his, wife Ann (79), are sad that their time as radio volunteers is coming to an end, although they will carry many happy and positive memories away with them.

Mr Collins said: “We often say that this is the oldest hospital radio station in the country. Over 100 years ago a nurse would play a gramophone to the patients but now we have speakers in all the wards.

“Over the years many patients have volunteered at the station and made up their own programmes before they go on air.

“It will be the end of a long history after the transfer to Stracathro.

“The studio has not changed in the last 40 or 50 years and we are still using the same ancient equipment.”

When the move to Stracathro is completed there will be no hospital radio facility available, but in the meantime the only two volunteers are Alan and Ann.

Mrs Collins said: “I hope something can be done. We only do two radio shows a week and that will stop in September. We would like to see young people trained up to do the job too.”

The radio studio itself has hundreds of pictures covering the walls of past volunteers and patients who have enjoyed their time at the station over the years.

Mrs Collins is keen to stress that radio therapy is an important process for many of the patients, claiming that it has helped many who have come through the doors of Sunnyside.

She said: “It was in the original charter that there should be entertainment for the patients at least twice a week.

“The music does a lot and the patients all do their own bit on the radio when they come.”

Mr Collins is currently working his way through the substantial back-catalogue of singles and records which the hospital has collected over the years to transfer them to CD. It is not known what will happen to the records after the closure of the hospital and Mr Collins does not want the music to be lost.

He said: “I want to convert as many as possible before the move.”