Radio DJ Tom Edwards looks back at his youth spent broadcasting off the East Anglia coast

Although I've lived in Lincolnshire for nearly 30 years having been born and educated in Norwich, I will of course always be a Norfolk man. At 77 years of age now I've been a broadcaster for 57 of those years.

During Easter of 1964 a somewhat mysterious radio station came on the airwaves playing non-stop music and the presenters seemed to be just ad libbing at the microphone in contrast to the rather staid BBC light programme which hardly played any popular music. The station turned out to be the now famous Radio Caroline, which was transmitting from a ship off the East Anglia coast.

I was a Bluecoat at Pontins holiday camp at Pakefield and the site had a Radio Pontins Tannoy system so I asked the boss for some money to buy some 45 hit singles which he agreed to and so started doing record requests for the happy campers.

Other stations, whether they were ships or wartime fortresses, suddenly began to appear right around the coast of the UK. Apart from Caroline there were other stations including Radio London, Radio England, Radio270 and Radio 390.

The more I heard of these stations, which were becoming so popular with an estimated audience of 22 million, the more I wanted to be out there at sea with them. I wrote and sent tapes of my Pontins shows to all of them. While on a few days off in Norwich, a man called Reg Calvert called me and said he liked what he heard and offered me a weekend try out on Radio City.

I jumped at the chance and travelled to Whitstable in Kent which was the departure point by fishing boat Harvester Two to the imposing shivering sands towers. The first time I saw the towers I wondered how on earth would I get up there to the top? I was soon to find out when a wooden type palette was lowered to the ship below with a piece of rope to hang on to.

I grabbed it with all my might and even today not being able to swim a stroke I diced with death many times in the swirl and heavy currents of the sea. There were o health and safety rules in those days!

I was put on the air almost at once. I cannot recall what records I played or what I said, but having just turned 20 I took to broadcasting like a duck to water. That weekend try out turned out to be a two year job, later becoming senior DJ and I made my home base in Whitstable.

The government of the day led by Harold Wilson hated the pirate stations. Not playing needle time to record companies and maybe interfering with emergency services of the medium wave. The public had a different idea and the sales of transistor radios just soared. Judging by the amount of mail we received it just showed we must all be doing something right.

However with good comes bad. There were rumblings of the government planning to work out A Marine Offences Act, but as young men we cared for the present and hardly thought about what our future would bring forth.

It couldn't last and it didn't with terrible consequences for Radio City and its owner, my boss, Reg Calvert.

He was killed during a fight with Major Oliver Smedley, who had initially backed the station, in a row over a new transmitter which had led to Radio City coming off the air.

Soon after I packed up the home in Whitstable and returned to Norwich, but later returned to work on Radio Caroline on board the Mi Amigo ship.

I met all my heroes such as Tommy Vance, Keith Hampshire, Dave Lee Travis, Steve Young, Johnnie Walker and Roger Day. When not on air I would sunbathe until the Dutch captain told me not to do it near the antenna mast as it might cause cancer, make my hair fall out or make me sterile. None of those things happened.

On August 14, 1967, 55 years ago this week, the Marine Broadcasting (Offences) Act came in, which effectively outlawed the operation of pirate radio stations broadcasting to the UK from offshore ships or disused sea forts.

The pirates all closed down that day but Caroline did continue and now today it's there with a well deserved license to broadcast from Ofcom - legal at last!

In Norwich I tapped on door of the BBC and fate played its hand. Within a few weeks I was presenting Look East. I was just 22.

In January 1968 I joined the ranks of Radio One and Two. It was the BBC's answer to plug the huge the gap that that the pirate radio stations had left.

My mum said to me: "Well son at least your legal now!"