Don't miss the index to the pages of photos, which is below the text
Payne relates how it all started
When Paul Rusling and Roger Day initially approached Radio London (and the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame) with a view to our sending out invites for a celebration to mark the 40th anniversary of the start of Radio Caroline on March 28th, the first question was, "Is it too short notice?" The second was, "Any ideas where we can hold it?"
This was in early February, and our reaction was that, yes, it was rather close to the date, but we felt there were bound to be at least some people who would be able to attend, even if it was only a small group meeting for a drink in a pub. I mentioned the Red Lion, as we had held one of our previous reunions there. The pub, of course, was the well-known watering hole for Caroline and London DJs and staff in the sixties. In fact, there used to be a handy door in the wall connecting Chesterfield Gardens and Waverton Street. However, I did warn Roger that when Chris and I had tried to get in with ex-Caroline friends on the Sunday afternoon following our 2002 Reunion, (after a nostalgic trip to 6 Chesterfield Gardens just round the corner), we had found it closed.
As it was, Roger persuaded landlord Gregory Peck (yes, really) to keep the Red Lion open all afternoon. He convinced them that even after forty years, the DJs hadn't lost their ability to down a pint or several! If only those walls...
Who was there?
We were delighted to see how many people turned up. There were an estimated sixty people present, including partners, which was a great credit to Roger. Guests represented Caroline in her every incarnation. John Aston and David Williams had managed to find Simon Dee, and invited him only days before the event. Simon seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself, although he unfortunately did not stay around for the group photos.
John Aston (who had
decorated the pub with some poster-size photos of the early days of the station)
had arranged with the present caretaker of 6, Chesterfield Gardens, for permission
to take a group shot outside. Sadly, the idea had to be abandoned. Because
the door in the wall is now blocked off and covered in ivy (*see
below) it would have proved too much of a major operation to persuade
everyone present to walk round the block to have their photos taken, and also
to persuade Greg Peck that they would all be coming back!
It was great to see several of the non-broadcasting Caroline staff at the party, including Ken Evans and George Hare and engineers George Saunders, Carl Thomson, Freddie Ryder and Mike Watts.
Sadly, it had proved too short notice for overseas guests to attend, the exception being Robbie Dale, who came with his wife Stella from Lanzarote.
Of course, it was great to meet Johnnie Walker and his lovely wife Tiggy again, accompanied by their friendly dog, Fergus, who likes everyone, without exception!
The Red Lion has so many nooks and crannies, that there were some guests we simply didn't get to meet. Probably, the only one who met everyone and knew all the guest's names, was Roger.
Well done, Roger, for organising a great event. Chris and I were pleased to help and honoured to be included.
Dear Mary and Chris,You really have been busy! I think all the new information on the 40th Anniversay looks absolutely great.I have just left a message on the BBC Pirate Radio web site and it was really great to read all the other messages with Graham Webb and Mark Roman amongst them. It really was very exciting and I wish I could have been there to join in the celebrations, but I heard some of it via the web.
Cheers, Bryan Vaughan
Radio London's own pictures of the great event
Robbie & Stella Dale's additional pictures
John & Christine Hatt's additional pictures
Two pages of photos at Jonathan's Pirate Radio Hall of Fame
In case you missed them, a 17-page photo montage of the 35th Anniversary Offshore Reunion in 2002, plus other mini-reunions, held that year. *including a shot of that ivy-covered secret door!