Tribute paid to 'first voice' of Harrogate Hospital Radio

Ken Welford, left, with fellow Harrogate Hospital Radio founder, Mike Hine, pictured in 1977.
Ken Welford, left, with fellow Harrogate Hospital Radio founder, Mike Hine, pictured in 1977.

Former colleagues have paid tribute to a founding member and the "first voice" of Harrogate Hospital Radio, who died suddenly last week.

Ken Welford was the first voice to be heard on the wards of the town’s district and general hospitals, when Harrogate Hospital Radio took to the air on the evening of October 22, 1977.

Pictured: Ken Welford, longstanding broadcaster at Harrogate Hospital Radio

Pictured: Ken Welford, longstanding broadcaster at Harrogate Hospital Radio

Ken, who celebrated his 69th birthday just a fortnight ago, was also instrumental in the founding of Stray FM, becoming one of its first regular presenters when it became a commercial radio station.

During this time, Ken took a sabbatical from the charity broadcaster to concentrate on his full-time professional radio career.

But having remained close with his former colleagues, upon retiring, he re-joined Harrogate Hospital Radio as a presenter, as well as taking over the important position of treasurer.

In March this year, at the charity’s annual meeting, Ken presented his last set of accounts.

His valuable service was rewarded by him becoming one of the charity’s trustees, a role he sadly wasn’t able to fulfil.

Harrogate Hospital Radio (HHR) Chairman, Mark Oldfield, said: “We are all in deep shock. Ken was an incredibly popular member and was hugely respected by all his colleagues.

“His death has hit us hard and we offer our deepest sympathies to his family. We will be paying a full tribute to Ken ‘on-air’ in the coming weeks, featuring many of his favourite records.

“And, as we now broadcast via the internet, his family and friends will be able to listen to it.”

Former Chairman and Trustee, Ian Wighton, joined Harrogate Hospital Radio six months after its launch and said Ken was the first person he met.

He said: “Words can’t begin to express how I feel at this time. Ken was the first person I met at Harrogate Hospital Radio.

"He was my mentor, my inspiration and, more importantly, my friend. He was passionate about radio and was never happier when playing one of his favourite Beatles tracks.”

The date and time of when the tribute to Ken Welford will be broadcast will be published in advance on its website.