We work closely with the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS trust in order to make sure our service can be heard in the hospitals we serve. If you want to find out a bit more about their news, please see their news page at https://www.mtw.nhs.uk/news/.
A group of singers and musicians from across Kent and Sussex have teamed up to help raise funds for Hospital Radio Tunbridge Wells, a charity broadcasting service serving patients in the Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury and Tonbridge Cottage Hospital. The group called HRTW Bonanza have recorded Rocket Science, written by Southborough singer / songwriter Ryan Weeks.
Hospital Radio volunteer and presenter Phil Mills started approaching local musicians to help with the charity’s SOS campaign at the end of 2016. He has continued featuring local music on his Sunday Morning radio show and also wanted to find a new way to help continue raising funds for the charity radio service. The idea for the charity song was created by The Music Fix Vlog’s Chloe Sunnucks. “I’m so excited to be a part of the charity song for Hospital Radio” says Chloe. “The service they provide for the patients is incredible. Since I brought the idea to Hospital Radio, I’m so touched they’ve invested their time to make this idea a reality”.
The song will be released as a download on i-tunes and Amazon for 99p on Tuesday 3rd April with all the proceeds from the sale of the song going to Hospital Radio Tunbridge Wells. To mark the launch a special day of live acoustic music will be taking place at Grub & Liquor in Tunbridge Wells from 1pm to 11pm on Saturday 31st March. There is free admission to the event and a CD of the song will be available to buy, as well a signed copy being auctioned. During the day there will be performances by all the artists on the song including Chasing Shadows, Isabella Coulstock, A Man Called Dave and a Lady Called Sophie, Lizzie Arkell and Benjamin Lewes.
The headline act will be the composer of “Rocket Science” Ryan Weeks at 10pm; “I’m super excited to be releasing the charity song, it was a big honour being asked to write it and I’ve had such a great time writing and composing the song. When I was asked to write it, I knew exactly the sentiment that I wanted to convey, a lot like in the song love isn’t Rocket Science and it should be the same with supporting great causes such as Hospital Radio Tunbridge Wells as they do so much for the community and it’s a great pleasure to give back”.
Hospital Radio’s Phil Mills has been representing the charity on the project. “It’s great to have the involvement of so many talented singers and musicians from our local community in this fundraising project. I hope the money raised will go a long way to help Hospital Radio Tunbridge Wells continue providing its bespoke service to patients in our local area long into the future”.
Hospital Radio Tunbridge Wells has received £3,300 from the Tunbridge Wells Operatic and Dramatic Society, a record-breaking amount from their after-show collections and the first that TWODS has undertaken for the charity radio service.
The initial approach from TWODS came from Bob Board after a speech by HRTW member David Boyle at a Christian Mens' Fellowship meeting earlier in 2017 to help raise much-needed funds for HRTW. Then in mid-November 2017, TWODS was invited to the charity radio's studios for an hour-long interview to talk about the upcoming My Fair Lady show with board member Jane Morgan and leading lady Ms Allya Khammari. TWODS confirmed that it had nominated HRTW as their benefitting charity for post-performance bucket collections after this particular show. The donation was raised by 7 post-performance collections with in-costume TWODS players during their highly successful My Fair Lady 5-day run at Tunbridge Wells' Assembly Hall in November 2017.
Kevin Denman, chairman of TWODS says: "Charitable contributions from the proceeds of the Society's productions have always been an important consideration of ours: one of our aims is to put on shows that our members and our audiences want and we have a second aim - to support local charitable causes-which we have been doing for decades. We have run after-show collections with our audiences for many years but were astounded by the amount collected and really pleased for Hospital Radio Tunbridge Wells. Also there is a great synergy between ourselves and the charity radio service - we are both dedicated to the Arts and the radio service is also dedicated to its audience too-importantly to the patients. We've had a record-breaking response-My Fair Lady is always very popular but we are so pleased by the audience response-not only for the show but to top everything - the response from our after-show collections for Hospital Radio Tunbridge Wells and we can't thank our audience enough to help keep this worthwhile volunteer radio service running."
Hospital Radio Station Manager Chris Manser adds, "We are gob smacked! This is a massive boost for us and the donation will be used to help us refresh our IT systems which have not been upgraded for 15 years and so there is an element of borrowed time with our IT systems, putting us at some risk of taking us off the air. In recognition of this fantastic contribution to our cause, we are assigning one of our on-going weekday shows, Sound Spectrum Show (4-6pm) to TWODS for the next year where we will provide on-air information about their productions which includes creating a set of jingles to acknowledge them."
Hospital Radio Tunbridge Wells has been awarded £1,000 from the Aviva Community Fund after its Votes for Remotes campaign reached the national finals. This funding helps to replace TV remote controls so that patients who cannot access the radio station through the charity’s online link or via their TuneIn app will be able to do so via channel 705 on their bedside television. When the hospital was built in 2011, each room was fitted with a plasma TV which also gave patients access to radio stations, including HRTW.
However, many of the remote controls have gone missing and the Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust does not have funds to replace them. Station Manager Chris Manser said: “The volunteers at Hospital Radio Tunbridge Wells have worked hard to raise the funds needed to keep the radio service running. “We’re really grateful to all the people that voted for our Votes for Remotes submission to the Aviva Community Fund. Enabling more patients to listen in and enjoy our service is important. Hospital radio is a proven aide to recovery.” The NHS Trust is currently working on a solution to the TV remotes issue, and in the meantime the money will enable it to purchase some devices.
Mr Manser added: “We were concerned about reports from request collectors that a number of patients who wanted requests were unable to listen to our radio shows. Having worked so hard to maintain the service, we felt we needed to do more to ensure people could listen.”