Death of Co-Founder of Radio West Middlesex

‘A Friend At Your Bedside’ Alan Hardy was radio host for over 50 years


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Alan Hardy

Tributes have been paid following the death of Alan Hardy; the co-founder of West Middlesex Hospital’s well-known hospital radio station Radio West Middlesex.

Alan, who was 71 and lived in Whitton, created the station at the hospital in Isleworth together with his life-long friend Chris Payne in 1967, a year after they met as apprentices studying electronics at the EMI factory in Hayes.

For more than 50 years, amid an ever-changing line-up of volunteer presenters, Alan remained a constant presence in the studio – either behind the microphone as the host of his own Saturday morning show Needle Talk, or providing reassuring support to others in his roles as programme controller and chairman.

Alan Hardy

He was also an incredibly familiar and popular figure, both within and outside the hospital. This was thanks especially to his appearances at a succession of local events such as the annual Hospital Open Day, St Margarets Fair in Richmond, and Norwood Green Village Day in Ealing, which helped to raise the funds necessary to keep the station on the air.

Popular shows available for patients to listen to while staying in the hospital include Jurassic Jukebox, Freetime, and Bollywood Mix, as well as the staple offering of nightly request shows during which teams of volunteers pay a visit to the wards to chat with them and collect their favourite songs and dedications.

Interspersed among the shows and music, listeners can also enjoy a number of informative segments such as Friday night special featuring interviews with well-known celebrities and local figures, as well as promos for local charities, services and upcoming events.

From its inception to the present day Alan’s ethos for Radio West Mid (as the station is more locally known) has been to entertain and inform patients, as well as comfort them during times of struggle – living up to its slogan of: ‘A Friend At Your Bedside’.

With not even a studio to its name when it began, Alan started off recording shows on tape, after work in his bedroom, which he did for the first five years of its existence.

The first studio, built in the mid-1970s, saw the station’s gradual expansion and enabled more programmes to be broadcast live, before finally achieving 24-hour broadcast ability in 2003. The installation of Hospicom, a bedside entertainment system, also widened its audience reach, as did the introduction of online streaming in recent years.

Alan Hardy

Alan was undoubtedly the most enthusiastic advocate of the station’s mission statement and went to great lengths to instil the same belief in all of the presenters and volunteers he worked with and mentored.

Noteable among their number is comedian and actor Sanjeev Bhaskar, who on learning of Alan’s death, offered the following thoughts on a tribute site set up in his memory: ”Very sad news indeed. I have always retained such fond memories of volunteering at Radio West Mid and of Alan’s generosity towards me and giving me the opportunity to present a show.

“His counsel was always wise and despatched with great humour. I’d always harboured a desire to pop back in and present a show and if it ever happens it will be bittersweet with Alan’s absence.”

A lover of music, especially artists including The Beach Boys and Marvin Gaye, Alan was also a great supporter of his local church, as well as a keen traveller who particularly enjoyed roaming across the United States of America for weeks at a time, visiting sites of musical and historical significance.

Tuesday night request show host Chris Longhurst, who has been a member of the station for five years, summed up how much Alan’s death has affected everyone associated with the team both past and present.

He said: “Alan had been unwell for some time, but his loss still came as a huge shock to us all. It’s not an exaggeration to say that he was the glue which held Radio West Middlesex together and epitomised all that is good about hospital radio.

“The ongoing Coronavirus crisis has meant we have been unable to give him the memorial he fully deserves, but we most certainly will when the appropriate time comes. Meanwhile we are continuing to programme our system to keep the music playing for patients as we know that is what he would have wanted.

“It was a huge honour to have known Alan and to have benefitted from his knowledge and support and I know this is a feeling which is shared by all my colleagues. His legacy is very much safe in our collective hands.”

Alan died following a short illness on March 20 and is survived by his brother David. His funeral took place at South West Middlesex Crematorium on April 3.

An online charity donations page in aid of Cancer Research UK has been created in Alan's memory and his family asks that any tributes are in the form of donations on this site If you would like to donate please visit this website and enter Alan's name to gain access to his particular donation page.

A three page tribute to Alan has also been set up by Chris Payne and his wife Mary. It is available to view here

For more information about Radio West Mid – as well as to listen live - visit

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April 29, 2020

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