Swindon 105.5 community radio has been receiving great exposure over the last few months, but station manager Shirley Ludford says, whilst the recognition helps, the hard work is in the fundraising effort needed to train the volunteers to keep the station on air 24/7.
The latest accolade came in early May when Shirley told Swindon Link that the station was to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the MBE for organisations – in recognition of the work of the station in the community and the impact it has made to people’s lives.
The nomination was made by the outgoing High Sheriff of Wiltshire William Wyldbore-Smith shortly after station manager Shirley received his individual award for her work bringing people together in the town.
On 9 June Shirley was invited to a royal garden party at Buckingham Palace.
Above: Shirley with Swindon 105.5 chairman Nick Stevenson at the gates of Buckingham Palace when they attended a royal garden party for representatives of voluntary organisations. Below, Shirley on the terrace at Buckingham Palace with the gardens in the background
She said: “There were about 7,000 people there so it was a case of craning your neck around the sea of ladies’ hats to catch a glimpse of the dignitaries. The sandwiches were gorgeous and the mini deserts and iced coffee on a hot day were delicious.
“Walking round the lake and gardens, which are left quite natural, was a lovely experience, and I bumped into two people from Swindon and Royal Wootton Bassett who I’d worked with. We all agreed it was a lovely, yet surreal, day.
“When the national anthem struck up at 6pm it was time to leave, escorted by Beefeaters who guided us back into the real world.”
Licensed by OFCOM, the non-commercial, not-for-profit broadcasting service is funded by grants, donations, corporate support, fundraising events and support in-kind. Launched in 2008, it is operated by about 120 volunteers aged 9 to 73 years. The only paid staff are Shirley and a weekend manager who are funded for just 30 hours a week.
Shirley added: “It’s wonderful that 105.5 is receiving recognition and raised awareness of what we do. But this can only happen if our fundraising effort continues to be successful.”
To organise a fundraising event or provide corporate sponsorship, contact Shirley via swindon1055.com or call her on 07951 366289.