Real Lives: Hospital radio stalwart marks 40 years on air

Malcolm Kirby

Malcolm Kirby

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A RED Dot Radio volunteer who has spent more than 40 years broadcasting to hospital patients has been honoured for his service.

Malcolm Kirby, who is chairman of the Edinburgh Hospital Broadcasting Service, has received the John Whitney award for outstanding contribution to hospital radio.

First volunteering in 1970, Malcolm has since assisted the station, which is celebrating 50 years on the air, in a number of different roles.

Throughout his services to patients across Edinburgh via the radio airwaves Malcolm has managed to remain humble, despite the recognition his team, and patients, feel he rightly deserves.

“I’ve done pretty much everything, from presenter to my current role of technical director which I have also done for most of my time at the station,” he said.

Red Dot Radio currently broadcasts to patients at the Western General, Royal Victoria and Corstorphine hospitals and also the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

For Malcolm, broadcasting to people in need of a lift means more than to receive recognition for his work, with the award coming as a surprise to him.

He said: “We are all about trying to break up the monotony of the patients’ day and it means more than the award and the recognition we are now receiving.

“I honestly knew nothing about the award. Somebody at the station nominated me and had to write a small paragraph and I knew nothing about it until I received the award.”

The station is currently in need of donations, with Malcolm working tirelessly to help raise funds ahead of its planned move from the Royal Victoria Hospital to the Western General.

Malcolm said: “The situation is quite dynamic as it changes rapidly. In the past two weeks we have secured help and donations from contractors and monetary donations, however we are still requiring help to meet the targets.”

Ahead of the move to the new headquarters, volunteers are trying to raise money for solid doors and double glazing – but despite their need Malcolm refuses to entertain notions of selling Red Dot’s most prized asset – its guestbook.

Celebrities and famous faces to the station are asked to put pen to paper as a lasting momento. Included in Red Dot’s guest book are autographs from the likes of the Beatles and Cliff Richard.

“In terms of parting with the booklet, it is difficult as it is part of the history of the station,” said Malcolm, who is currently appealing for more helpers to come forward ahead of the move.

“Any help is gratefully appreciated either through donating items, money or, if possible, labour so I’d ask anyone interested to please get in touch with us.”

• To offer your services to Malcolm and the Red Dot Radio team, email enquiry@reddotradio.co.uk