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Harlow Hospital Radio stage a variety show




A troupe of broadcasters who hope that their listeners only ever tune in once are hosting a variety show to raise money towards the upkeep of their radio station.

The whole Harlow Hospital Radio team at the town's 2018 carnival (6509242)
The whole Harlow Hospital Radio team at the town's 2018 carnival (6509242)

Harlow Hospital Radio (HHR) is a charity run solely by volunteers, producing their shows for patients at Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH).

The radio station broadcasts 24 hours a day, and it is made up of a mixture of live shows and pre-recorded transmissions.

A team of seven core volunteers run HHR and Mark Ranger, 62, who lives in St Michael’s Mead in Bishop’s Stortford, is among them.

“We are broadcasting to a small audience. Those people are there not because they want to be,” he said. “We’re the only station that does not want you to listen in next week.”

A general shot of HHR studio (6502145)
A general shot of HHR studio (6502145)

The presenters hope that by playing classic hits and creating some entertaining shows – they even performed their own pantomime at Christmas – PAH patients will have a more enjoyable stay.

The volunteers are so dedicated to their love of radio, they even pay a membership fee to spend their evenings in the basement of PAH working on the shows.

This money is spent on the costs incurred from running a radio station, so to give themselves a financial boost, the HHR team are staging a variety show at Harlow’s Victoria Theatre this Saturday (February 2).

The fundraiser will provide a family-friendly night of comedy, magic, song and dance, and it marks the fifth time that the HHR presenters have staged a variety show together.

The Harlow Hospital Radio team at the time of recording their 2018 pantomime. Pictured L-R: Linda Ranger, Cosmic Stargirl (Lynne Andrews), Andy Magicman Meadows, Jane Bryson, Mark Ranger, Rob Furber, John Bryson, Peter Dodkin, Jonny Hayes, Kevin Bird, Marcos Kallou (6508692)
The Harlow Hospital Radio team at the time of recording their 2018 pantomime. Pictured L-R: Linda Ranger, Cosmic Stargirl (Lynne Andrews), Andy Magicman Meadows, Jane Bryson, Mark Ranger, Rob Furber, John Bryson, Peter Dodkin, Jonny Hayes, Kevin Bird, Marcos Kallou (6508692)

Initially, the HHR variety shows started when the team discovered they possessed a wealth of talent within their own ranks, so they put together a production where they could showcase their abilities.

Over the years, the show has grown and other groups have stepped forward to perform in the biennial fundraiser.

“All revenue goes to the hospital radio station – none of us take anything from it,” said Mark.

The 2019 performance this Saturday, which kicks off at 7.30pm, will showcase a variety of local talent; there will be dancers from Grove Cottage, LMA Studios and Lesley Whitaker Dance, along with three magic acts – Kevin Bird, Neale Munson and O’Leary & Meadows.

Singers Amy Lou, Asha Louise and Muskrat Duo will also take to the stage and Stortford’s own Janet Edwards, who will be performing as The Mexican Garabatear, will bring the audience participation.

Mark will compere the event alongside Steven Stone and HHR chairman Andy Meadows.

But Mark explained that the whole team is very much a part of the show. “On the night, all of the active volunteers get involved,” he said.

“Front of house, selling raffle tickets and doing the sound and lighting – we enjoy doing it, but it’s a lot of work to do.”

Tickets to HHR’s variety show are selling like hot cakes. To book yours, click here.



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