Married couple celebrate 100 years of volunteering

Volunteer members of Radio Cherwell, Oxford’s hospital radio service, recently gathered at Oxford Town Hall to receive their long service awards, totalling 305 years, from the Lord Mayor, Councillor Mark Lygo.

Amongst the ten recipients were married couple, Peta & Richard Simmons (pictured right) of Chipping Norton, who have both been with the radio station for 50 years. During that time their involvement has mainly focussed on recording local musicians, jazz bands, the Oxfordshire Youth Orchestra and the Radcliffe Orchestra, enabling local events to be broadcast to the patients of Oxford’s hospitals. They have also been stalwart members of the public address team, which goes out and about each year across the county, raising much-needed funds for the station. Richard has been involved in engineering projects, Peta has provided wonderful buffets for many of the station’s celebrations, and they have both served on the committee over the years.

Neil Stockton, Chairman, said:

“Radio Cherwell, formerly OHBA (Oxford Hospital Broadcasting Association), has been broadcasting programmes to the patients in Oxford’s hospitals and care homes since 1967. Over this time we have cheered up thousands of patients and hospital staff by playing their favourite piece of music and involving them in our many and varied programmes.

Hundreds of volunteers have spent time with us learning broadcasting skills which have enabled them to produce entertaining programmes for our audiences and many have used those skills to pursue a career in broadcasting.

The pandemic has brought its own issues, curtailing direct contact with patients, but it has opened up other ways that we can attract a new breed of volunteer who, in many cases, already have the skills to produce new and innovative programmes remotely, which inform and entertain. However, we are all keen to get back on the wards of the hospitals as soon as we can do so safely.

Each year, we present long service awards to show our gratitude for the time and effort members have put into our charity, without whom our service would not exist. I wish to congratulate all our award winners, especially Peta & Richard Simmons for their remarkable achievement, their input is very much appreciated.”


Other recipients to receive their long service awards from Lord Mayor, Councillor Mark Lygo include Neal Barton (30 years); Daniel Franks (10 years) and Ian Pinnell (15 years), pictured below.