Chorley Hospital Radio - History

The history of Chorley Hospital Radio.(CHR)

7th September 1968: Chorley Hospital Radio's own station was officially opened by 'Carry On' star, Jack Douglas. Yes it really is nearly 50 years since CHR started broadcasting the patients' favorite music. Actor and comedian, Jack Douglas was invited to officially open the brand new Hospital Radio studio on the 7th of September 1968. At this time Chorley and Preston Hospital Radios were combined and requests were gathered from the Fever Hospital and Eaves Lane Hospital, both of which have, unfortunately, since closed. After an informal lunch and opening ceremony, Mr. Douglas launched the new service to the patients of Chorley Hospital by playing the first record directly to the wards.
This new studio was founded and developed by Mrs.Ena Montgomery with financial help from The Chorley Lions club, she also ran the studio on a day to day basis with fellow volunteers: Brian Hodgson; Leslie Slater; Peter Wain and Syd Kayley. And so it began!

In 1972, Chorley Hospital Radio joined with nearly one hundred other hospital stations in a national link-up as part of the celebrations during the silver anniversary of the National Association of the Hospital Broadcasting Organizations (NAHBO). This unique network was co-ordinated by the GPO and had technical assistance from the BBC. With the dedication and hard work of many more volunteers the station reached its first major milestone in 1978, when Ena and her team celebrated their tenth anniversary. Then came the 80's and 90's and CHR went from strength to strength. In subsequent years, more people came and went, some going on to become professional broadcasters, each bringing new life to sustain the station's survival.

Ena herself went on to become President of NAHBO and received an MBE from the Queen for her contributions. Tony and Will were by now taking care of the daily running of the studio. The contents of the library grew thanks to donations by local people and by former patients who had enjoyed the service provided by Chorley Hospital Radio.
In the 1990's, compact discs were increasingly replacing vinyl records in the shops and in homes. Although CHR had two CD players, actual CDs were in short supply so appeals were made on the Granada Reports TV program and in all the local newspapers. Cassettes, CD albums, singles, vinyl albums and singles flooded into the station in boxes, bags and by the car full. So many, in fact, that a full-time librarian was brought in to catalogue and index them and more people joined us.

At this time the patients were enjoying the music more and more played by volunteers, some of whom had been with us for a number of years: Tony Callaghan; Will Stead; Mike Fowler; Roy Calderbank; Margaret Dalton; Eddie King; David Shaw; Hilda Bennett; Kathy Townsley; John Taylor; Al Mckay; Nigel Yates; Shaun Blake; Barrie Williams; Derek Miller; June Hargreaves; Millie Holmes and of course Darryl who is now an icon in his field of music on the professional circuit, all have given 10 years service and more.
At the turn of the century we celebrated our move into our new studios located within the hospital building. The old studio hut had so many good memories that it was sad to see it go, but the land was required to build the new Brindle Ward.
Technology moves on and the station is responsible for raising its own money, both for the running costs and for replacing and updating equipment. We were fortunate to get a lottery grant which helped us in our new studio, enabling us to computerise our equipment and to offer a 24 hours a day service for the patients. Our extensive music library now consists of more than 40,000 tracks.
As the station has grown so has the number of volunteers. We now have 22 dealing with Ward Work, Technical Support, Finances, Fundraising, Programme presentation and the general running of the radio station. To all the volunteers whose hard work over these many years have made us what we are today and to anyone who wishes to join us we say THANK YOU!

From 14th June 2016 CHR began a new chapter in its life and began streaming its broadcasts across the internet with a lot of work going on behind the scene in the studio. Computers were installed to stream the broadcast across the internet and also to view social media and receive messages from outside the studio. Our ex  Chairperson, Jon Taylor opened the stream that evening and most of the presenters turned up that evening for the grand opening, a few even shed a tear of joy.