IT is not often that the ed dips into the stash in the biscuit tin but when an invitation from those good folks at Radio BGM (Prince Philip Hospital Radio) landed on the passage floor the lock on the tin had to be broken. After sorting through those out of date garibaldis and coconut macaroons, which cunningly hid the layers of £1 notes we had been saving for that rainy day, it was just a case of getting the tuxedo dusted down, mothballs removed, a dash of starch on the old clip on collar and tie, a splash of Hai Karate and we were off.
Destination The Masala restaurant in Llanelli’s West End. They have palm trees and everything down there. Live music, nay live entertainment for goodness sake at the neighbouring Kilkenny Cat. A far cry from the whist drive on offer in Pontyates Miners Welfare Hall, although that has never waned in popularity.
The silver hornet was ignited and the bonus of free parking it being after 6pm was also conducive to the evening’s foray into the bright lights of Scarlet Town.
We were afforded a warm welcome from the proprietor and ushered to our table where Mr BGM David Hurford was busy putting up a pop up while eating a popadom. Try saying that never mind doing it. Pretty soon those hard working volunteers and their families were joining us. Kenneth Rees from the Hospital League from Friends was there. Gareth Hurford of Air Ambulance and The Wave fame was there. Fitness fanatic and DJ Emyr Evans had his family gathered around him and still managed to find enough time to get to the buffet to sample the lovely food on offer.
We have been to numerous ‘curry nights’. It seems that not a week goes by without an invite to a curry night and more often than not there is a seat reserved for the Reverend Eldon Phillips. But alas, this evening he was absent.
Radio BGM is one of those institutions, which has been going since the glory days of radio when every DJ seemed to be called Dave or Gaz. Nothing changed there then. They began broadcasting back in 1973 from studios at the old geriatric hospital at Bryntyrion. Since then, they have gone a long way thanks to the generosity of volunteers over the years.
Tucked away barely noticeable at the hospital are a couple of rooms, which contain enough technology to send a small dog to Mars. Just about every musical artist one can think of is on the shelves and some have been on the shelf a very long time.
What Radio BGM does best is to provide a service and a free one at that to those people who find themselves in hospital and away from their family and friends for a fair amount of the day. Those volunteers walk the wards, chat, engage and if needs be will do their best to make sure there is something for the inpatients to listen to. The system works well, so well that many people have carved out their careers in radio having started with hospital radio.
It was a wonderful evening both in terms of food and company. The £12 for the ticket will be going to a great cause. Radio BGM is always looking for volunteers. If you would like to find out more you can contact them via their website