Willingham and a life outside the Broadcast Studio
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Willingham and a life away from the Broadcast Studio

Willingham by Stow, Lincolnshire
I arrived in the village in 1987 and tried from the start to bring some of my skills to use. At the village hall I continue to involve myself with the sound and lighting for events and shows and help with some of the maintenance. I don’t think I’ve missed more than a handful of events there, in the last 36 years. With the work of setting up and at the other end of an event, pulling down, I can sometimes be the first person in and the last person out of the hall.
When the primary school was about to close a few years later I assisted with a campaign to keep it open, including the production of audio cassettes  demonstrating local opinion and highlighting the history of the building – sadly we lost that battle.
When I arrived in the village, there was no play-park or playing field. I started a committee, of which I was Chairman for the first few years and we raised the thousands of pounds that made the project possible. There were dances in the hall, shows, quizzes and auctions for several years in the pub and all manner of events to reach our initial target. Land was acquired, fences built and landscaping organised. Many years on and we now have two football pitches, a cricket pitch, play-park, exercise equipment and changing rooms.
Over the years I have been on the Village Hall Committee; served a term as a Parish Councillor and now chair Willingham Twinning Committee whose links are with communities in the Czech Republic (Postrelmov) and France (Moyenneville). With a wife who is a Church Warden, I can find myself involved in their activities and arrange for the church to be lit up outside for Christmas each year.
I started the village website twenty years ago and continue to maintain and update it. It’s one of a number of useful tools we have in Willingham to keep our community informed.
I love my village and will continue to help where I can until age catches up with me!

Life away from the Broadcast Studio

Being a broadcaster does give you a profile that means you can help with fundraising and take on some challenges of your own. These are voluntary and not part of the Broadcast contract. This is something I have always enjoyed and below are some of the more successful events that I have been involved with and which have raised a considerable amount of money.

BBC Radio Two – Paddled a bathtub along the “Boat race” course for “Children in Need”

Radio Tay (Dundee) – Swimming the mouth of the Tay (About a mile) very cold, but raised hundreds of pounds

Radio Tay (Dundee) Paddled a bathtub from Perth to Dundee – actually quite dangerous but a great fundraiser

Northsound Radio (Aberdeen) – Paddling a bathtub down the River Dee into Aberdeen, again about 20 miles

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire – Paddled a Cambridge Punt down the River Cam with TV personality Chris Morris.

BBC Radio Lincolnshire – Rowed a rowing boat from Saxilby to Lincoln, cycled around the county, swam in every public swimming pool in Lincolnshire in a day.
I spent many evenings in Wragby over a number of years running quizzes and helping the local community to raise enough money to build their first ever swimming pool.

My biggest fundraiser was organising the annual Lincolnshire/Humberside golf day with a colleague from BBC Radio Humberside. Always a big job that had to work around the broadcasting hours but rewarded with tens of thousands of pounds during the years that it took place.

The other bits

After leaving the BBC full time, I taught media students at the University of Lincoln and did a few Radio projects with schools. When the local Community Radio Station (Lincoln City Radio) opened I helped with training and made myself available whenever possible though not broadcasting. It was time to give the volunteers an opportunity to sit behind the microphone. The station has come on very well and has some good broadcasters.

At about the same time, another voluntary job came along, Governor at Ermine Primary School in Lincoln (Now Ermine Academy). What I enjoyed most about it was I could go in when I had time and help with reading tuition. I really enjoyed the opportunity to watch the youngsters improve their reading skills.

Ever since I came to Lincolnshire, I have been an enthusiastic supporter of CAODS, The County Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society. That led to me being their Chairman for several years before becoming a lifetime member in 2022. Now in 2023 I am a trustee of their charity and looking forward to several more years involvement.