Community’s sadness as Southwold radio station closes

The Casino, Gun Hill, Southwold former home of Blyth Valley radio station.

The Casino, Gun Hill, Southwold former home of Blyth Valley radio station. - Credit: Archant © 2011

Community leaders have expressed sadness over a popular volunteer-run radio station's shock closure, saying it will 'very much be missed'.

Bill and Sylvie Jagger founding members of Blyth Valley Community Radio in Southwold.

Bill and Sylvie Jagger founding members of Blyth Valley Community Radio in Southwold. - Credit: Archant

Blyth Valley Community Radio fell silent despite listening figures and support from the community.

Malcolm Leesmith, chairman of the station - which broadcast from an iconic building on Gun Hill looking out to the North Sea - confirmed the station had handed back its broadcasting licence to the media regulator Ofcom.

Anyone wanting to take over the station would have to apply for a new licence, a process which takes considerable time.

Former Southwold mayor and town resident Simon Tobin had offered to take over as chairman on a temporary basis to try and keep it running but unfortunately it was not possible.


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'Over many years Blyth Community Radio has been a fantastic community asset and many volunteers have put in a lot of time, money and effort,' Mr Tobin said.

Southwold Town Council clerk Lesley Beevor added: 'Blyth Valley Community Radio will very much be missed.

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'The radio offered a local radio service to provide people with regular information about what was happening in the local area and special thanks must of course be given to all the volunteers.'

Currently volunteers are in the process of handing back leases to the radio's two studios, at the Bunker at St Felix School in Reydon and the Casino on Gun Hill.

Reasons for the closure remain unclear.

Fran D'Alcorn, headteacher of St Felix School, said: 'We are very sorry that the Blyth Valley Radio station is no longer able to continue.

'We have enjoyed a good relationship with them - pupils were given the opportunity to experience at first hand what is involved with broadcasting.'

Sylvie Jagger, who helped start the radio station with her husband Bill in 2007, said: 'My husband and I left the radio station on March 10 after 10 years of working on the radio.

'We are very upset that it has closed. It is very frustrating.'

After broadcasting over the internet, Blyth Valley Community Radio took to the airwaves in July 2009.

It broadcast for seven days a week and up until recently harboured plans to open new satellite studios in Halesworth and Beccles.

? Would you like to pay tribute to the work of the station? Write, giving your full contact details, to:

Journal Postbox, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft NR32 1NB

or email andrew.papworth@archant.co.uk

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