Media Release: Inverness Hospital Radio founder awarded top accolade

DONNIE Aird has won the equivalent of an Academy Award at this year’s National Hospital Radio Awards, for his outstanding contribution to Hospital Radio.

The annual awards, for which music licensing organisation PPL is a major sponsor, are held to celebrate hospital radio stations and are open to The Hospital Broadcasting Association’s (HBA) 218 member stations across the country.

Inverness Hospital Radio took top place at this year’s ceremony winning the highly-coveted John Whitney Award.

The award recognises a person in the industry that has made an outstanding contribution to Hospital Radio and was awarded to Donnie Aird, founder of the station.

Working closely with the late Alistair Gardner, Donnie organised and financed the launch of the station in 1970 and, over the years, has helped grow the station into what it is now.

From the first home-recorded broadcast, to its current studios, Donnie has lent his invaluable technical broadcast expertise and played a big part in raising the £150,000 to install radio station equipment in the studios at Raigmore Hospital.

Donnie was also responsible for training new volunteers over the years in order to extend broadcasting to every evening, enabling patients to enjoy music throughout the night, and continues to play a pivotal role at the station as honorary life president.

Gerald Holdsworth, vice-chair of Inverness Hospital Radio, added: “To have won the John Whitney Award means so much to Inverness Hospital Radio. Donnie is like a national treasure to us, and we believe that he thoroughly deserved it.

“It was a shame that Alistair Gardner, the other IHR co-founder, is no longer with us to share this accolade. As Vice Chairman, it was an honour and a pleasure to accept the award on Donnie’s behalf.”

Charlotte Todd, Radio Licensing Executive, PPL added: “On behalf of everyone at PPL, we would like to congratulate Donnie and all at Inverness Hospital Radio on their success at this year’s awards and their commitment to providing patients with music and entertainment.

“The Hospital Broadcasting Association does a great job in helping promote hospital broadcasting throughout the UK and it is an honour to continue to support the awards and raise awareness of the importance of music in hospitals.”

Commenting on this year’s awards, HBA chair and chief executive, Jim Simpson, said: “I would like to say a big thank you to all our members, the volunteers, who give their time freely and willingly to provide a very special brand of entertainment for patients through the hospital radio stations all over the UK.

“Donnie epitomised everything that is great about hospital radio. He was a founder of the station and worked tirelessly for it and the benefit of Raigmore Hospital’s patients and the community and fully deserved the HBA’s highest national award.

“I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the HBA to congratulate Donnie and all at Inverness Hospital Radio on their success at this year’s awards and their commitment to providing patients with music and entertainment.”

A voluntary organisation, Inverness Hospital Radio, broadcasts to both Raigmore Hospital and Royal Northern Infirmary 24 hours a day with the aim of making life in hospital more pleasant and interesting for the patients listening.

In addition to picking up the top award on the night, Inverness Hospital Radio was also shortlisted in a number of categories including: Best Newcomer, Female Presenter of the Year and Best Specialist Music Programme 2014.

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Contact: Grant Thomson
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