The fans' memorabilia - a day trip to Big L

Shirley Turner won a visit to the Radio London ship. She went out there with her friend Elaine
and, after all these years, still remembers it well...


“I won the trip to Radio London at the 1965 National Jazz & Blues Festival in Richmond, Surrey. I met a lot of stars backstage but that's another story. Alan Keen (then salesman, later Programme Director) arranged the trip. He arranged for us to travel first class by train so we had a private compartment. Back then I did not have a camera. I did get autographs from the disc-jockeys on their photo cards. The trip out to the ship was like something out of the movies. The sea waves were huge. The tender looked like an ant against the waves. I remember a man was traveling out with us. He was bragging about replacing someone on the ship when we left the harbour. I think it was his first time out there because when the weather changed and the waves really got bad he was literally green in the face and sick as a dog for the rest of way. When we got to the ship the sea was so rough that they could not get the tender alongside. So we had to wait for the high waves to bring us alongside and make a timely jump onto a rope ladder. The crew on Radio London grabbed us so we didn't fall into the water. I guess the trip always stayed in my mind because I can't swim and I remember watching all this water coming aboard and washing out via the holes on the side of the deck and wondering if we would make it. The Radio London ship was a lot larger than I thought. The tender looked tiny in comparison. When we boarded we were greeted and I remember yells of joy from the crew. I don't know if we were the first females ever aboard but they were sure happy to see us teenagers. Pete Brady showed us around the ship for about two hours. We also met Paul Kaye, Duncan Johnson, Dave Cash and Dave Dennis. I think we got something to drink and eat because I think the tender had supplies for them. But I mainly remember the room where they broadcast from. Pete announced we were on board and asked us if we wanted to pick a record to send to someone on the air. Which we did but I don't remember what I picked. I think it was sent to my family and friends - whoever was listening. I do remember the inside of the ship being very dark except for portholes and all metal. It reminded me of what a prison must look like because the ship was really stripped and bare. Actually it was really like a freight ship with the insides all removed. They said it was lonely being cut off from everything and seemed refreshed just to be able to speak to someone else and see some new faces.”

Many thanks to Shirley for sharing her story.
There are memories of a listener's visit to Radio Caroline here.
Return to the fans' memorabilia index.

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