The Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP today visited volunteers at Borders Hospital Radio – and gave a helping hand taking music requests from patients.
Mr Fergusson visited the station, based at Borders General Hospital in Melrose, to learn more about the work carried out by the 15-strong group of volunteers who provide a radio service to patients, visitors and staff.
The Presiding Officer was interviewed for one of the service’s shows and also lent a hand by collecting music requests from staff and patients at the hospital. Mr Fergusson said: “For 20 years dedicated volunteers have given up their time to provide everyone who works, stays in or visits the hospital the opportunity to request music or dedicate songs to a loved one. As a non-profit organisation it relies entirely on funding from the public and it has been very interesting to learn about some of the regular fund raising events the volunteers stage – from Christmas raffles to making pancakes for listeners. I am sure the station has lightened the lives of many, many people at Borders General since it went on air in 1988.”
The Presiding Officer revealed some of his favourite music tracks – including ‘Ruby Tuesday’ by The Rolling Stones and 'Caledonia' by Dougie MacLean - and explained why they meant so much to him. Ewen Thomson, Chairman of Borders Hospital Radio said: “We are delighted the Presiding Officer wanted to come and see our little organisation and learn about what we do. It is a real honour that he came to visit us and it was great to see him collecting requests for us - so if he ever wants to leave politics and volunteer with us he would be more than welcome.”
Mr Fergusson’s visits were part of his Summer Tour programme of visits to engage with communities across Scotland to mark the 10th anniversary of the Scottish Parliament.
Borders Hospital Radio Service (BHRS) has been broadcasting since 1988 when the Queen first opened the Borders General Hospital in Melrose.
Volunteers give their time and skills to broadcast nightly between 7pm and 10pm.
The station celebrated its 20th anniversary last year when former finalists in the ITV music show The X Factor, The MacDonald Brothers, visited the station.