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Scunthorpe Hospital Radio on the lookout for an SUFC commentator

27 June 2022

After seventy years of broadcasting, there are fears Scunthorpe's Hospital Radio station SHR may have to blow the final whistle on commentaries of Scunthorpe United games.

The Covid pandemic and the retirement of current members of the commentary team has put the future of the football service in doubt unless new broadcasters can be found. It would bring to an end a life-long connection between the station, which broadcasts direct to patients at Scunthorpe General Hospital, and the football club.

SHR first started back in 1951, when Scunthorpe businessman John Tock made a tape recording of his own commentary of an Iron match at the then Old Show Ground, on Doncaster Road. He then cycled back and played it back on the men's ward of the former War Memorial Hospital. A few years later a phone link was established enabling live commentary to be sent back to the patients, with weekly requests shows also added. Now, the station is on air 24 hours a day from its own purpose-built studios in the grounds of the hospital and even continued broadcasting throughout lockdown - with volunteers presenting requests shows from their own homes.

SHR spokesman Sean Dunderdale said: "It will be a real loss if the commentary was to go. We know how popular it is for those in hospital who, for obvious reasons, can't get to the game. Our current team had been providing the service for a number of years - some for over 40 - with one travelling regularly from his home in Yorkshire. None of our volunteers are paid and all give up their time freely to bring comfort and entertainment to our listeners, however the pandemic has made us all reassess our commitments and other issues, such as the current high cost of fuel, means others have decided it's no longer viable for them to continue. It's actually amazing they've continued for as long as they have."

Sean says his goal now is to reach out to Scunthorpe United fans in the hope a small group could be found who would be willing to step up and save the commentary.

He said: "It feels like we're deep in added time but still hopeful of finding a win. After the disappointment of relegation, it feels like the perfect opportunity for a fresh start for the club and for our commentary service. The great thing about SHR is that we can be unapologetically biased towards Scunthorpe United and I'm sure there must be one or two fans who are up for their own new challenge as the new season approaches. Obviously, we'll offer training but really we just need a couple of keen Iron supporters who would be willing to go to home games and simply chat through what's happening on the pitch for those listening back at the hospital.  If nothing else, it's free entry to the games!" 

Anyone who thinks they might be able to help are being encouraged to contact Sean by emailing sean@shronline.co.uk.

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