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Phil Mitchell
We are very sorry to learn that the former Caroline and Voice of Peace DJ, Phil Mitchell, died on Tuesday 25th March 2008, after a long illness. Ginny, his wife and Kiri, his daughter were with him when he passed away.

Phil had participated in several RSLs in recent years and the sad news came from his shipmate Colin Lamb, organiser of two RNI broadcasts. Phil suffered a stroke in 2005 and although he had made progress with regaining his speech and communication skills, he had never fully recovered.

Phil's Radio London connection is that his band The Style (in common with the Radio London DJs and Episode Six) was represented by the Philip Birch Agency, run by Big L's managing director. What little information we have about the band is here. Phil liked blues music and in the Sixties, formed a band called 'CC Rider'.

Danny Vaughan, who was a band member, has kindly sent some photos. "So sad to hear about Phil," he wrote. "He was a good mate and I was in his band CC Rider in the 60s. Phil and John Johnson did form a blues band. They never recorded, but I have a CD of them playing live."

The photo above left was taken in 1966 at Alexandra Palace, North London. (l to r) Phil Cook, Derek Copus (on drums - obscured), Phil, Danny Vaughan, John Johnson. (Right) John Johnson, Phil, Derek Copus, Phil Cook, Danny Vaughan. (Click on photo to see enlarged version)

Phil contributed a chapter entitled 'A Pirate's Life For Me' to Hans Knot's book 'The Wet and Wild History of Radio Caroline 1964-2004'. He related many stories of his offshore adventures, including his nightmare first journey to the Mi Amigo in 1974. The only way the captain of the tender ("a small, smelly fishing boat") managed to locate the ship in a thick sea mist, was by tuning Phil's trannie in to Caroline!

We send our condolences to Phil's family.

Phil's friend John Patrick has sent the following tribute:

The funeral was a sell-out with all the seats taken by Phil's family and friends. Despite being left handicapped by the stroke, he still maintained the same sense of humour. The oratory was 100% what he would have wanted. Humour, memories and a tribute to a very special man. All the woman were crying and all the men were laughing.

I worked on various radio stations with him and he was always a joy to be with. My one abiding memory of Phil is of being stupid together. I am proud to have known him and can say that he made me a better person and I really miss him. Occasionally you meet someone who changes what you value; he did it for me. He was a wonderful man.

Tragedy for the Kerr family
We have received tragic news of the family of John Kerr. John was on 242 Radio Scotland in the Sixties and was heard nightly in August, 2007, broadcasting from the LV18 during Pirate BBC Essex 2007. John made many friends while he was in the UK and all will be devastated to hear that John's son Adam has died. Adam was killed in a car crash, aged only 28 and leaves a six-year-old daughter. His funeral took place on April 3rd on the central coast near Sydney.

We send our heartfelt sympathy to John, his wife Rhonda and their family.

'Give Peace A Chance 2008'
Achim Schultz feels that very little has changed on the planet since the Plastic Ono Band sang 'Give Peace A Chance', with wars continuing to rage throughout the globe. John Lennon's 1969 protest inspired Achim to write and record a new song of the same title, dedicated to his Beatle hero. Achim has some impressive friends. The sleeve artist is Klaus Voormann, who designed the cover of 'Revolver'.

'Give Peace A Chance 2008' was released on June 2nd 2008. For more information visit

The Radio Caroline Story – the 1970s
Chris Edwards reports

With the Mi Amigo's return off the English coast, Radio Caroline entered a darker period with strong attention from the British authorities. Deejays and those involved with the station came under surveillance, there were court appearances, a boarding of the radio ship, and even instances of Caroline fans being fined for displaying car stickers promoting their favourite station.

Radio Caroline's story continues through the mid-1970s, and includes pictures, audio, press reports and official documents.

Visit the continuing Caroline story at

Walker #1 - Johnnie

Walker #2 - Gary, from the Walker Brothers

Autographed offshore tee on ebay
Chris and Jackie Dannatt of Offshore Memories, who own the exhibition that took pride of place on the Ha'penny Pier during Pirate BBC Essex 2007, auctioned a teeshirt autographed by participants of the event, in aid of charity.

The Rosko World Syndication shirt is signed by Rosko himself and many of the other famous faces of Pirate BBC Essex 2007, including Johnnie Walker, Dave Cash, Keith Skues, Norm St John and Graham Webb.

The ten-day ebay auction ended on 22nd April and the winning bid was £36.

Proceeds of the auction go jointly to MacMillan Nurses (at the request of Johnnie Walker) and The Stroke Association (in light of the sad passing of Chris Cary).


Peelie appeared for free at Friars Aylesbury
John Otway was one of a host of stars who played the celebrated music club, Friars Aylesbury, which now has its own website with press clippings, personal recollections and comprehensive gig lists. As a local boy, Otway appeared on numerous occasions at the celebrated club, founded by (Knees Club Member) David Stopps, which ran from 1969-1984. Appearances at Friars boosted the careers of many major bands and members of Blossom Toes, Stackridge, Cockney Rebel, Sailor and Free have already contributed personal memories.

John Peel was at the club during the early months. On September 8th 1969 he appeared (and presumably played records) as a support to the band Quintessence and is described in clippings as 'Britain's foremost musical pioneer – the much-loved John Peel.' He refused to take any payment for his appearance.

Congratulations to webmaster Mike O’Connor on a marathon effort! Mike is still seeking memorabilia and recollections from the 87,000 former Club Members. (Thanks to Aylesbury Showcase)

Guinness Kazoo Record attempt at Hammersmith Odeon
At the live performance of Radio Four's comedy panel game 'I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue' at the Hammersmith Odeon on April 3rd 2008, every member of the audience was supplied with a plastic kazoo. The show's producer, Jon Naismith, then invited everyone to participate in a world record attempt for the number of people simultaneously playing the instrument.

Jon had checked with Guinness, who had confirmed that the record had been held by 2,679 players from Rochester, New York since December 2006. Over 3,350 people were present at the Odeon and photographic evidence was taken to prove their kazoo participation, if not their proficiency.

An attempt on the record was made at Macon, Georgia the birthplace of the kazoo, on September 27th 2007, during the Georgia state fair. The website explains:

"The kazoo was invented in Macon, Georgia, by former slave Alabama Vest and unveiled to the world at the Georgia State Fair in 1852. (Its original name was the Down South Submarine.)" (See YouTube)

The 'Face Behind the Voice' – Take Two!
The 'Face Behind the Voice' in Radio Times week ending March 7th was meant to have been Roger Day... only unfortunately, it wasn't! The photo was of someone holding a Radio Five Live microphone who looks nothing like the real Twiggy Day (left). However, this was rectified in the edition of RT dated 29th March to 4th April, where the story (page 134) finally matched the correct Face Behind the Voice!

Penguins instead of parrots!
When the Pirate BBC Essex team attended an award ceremony in Norwich, where they had been nominated for Best Broadcast Production for last summer's swashbucking broadcast from the LV18, station management insisted that they were attired in penguin suits rather than pirate regalia.

As the penguin-suited team departed for the Creative East Awards, Mary Payne was the 3 o'clock guest, talking to Graham Bannerman about what offshore radio meant to her.

Although a non-winner, BBC Essex was the only radio finalist in Best Broadcast Production, competing against three television production companies. However, the station proudly came away with Best Radio Programme for 'Inside at Christmas', a feature about the inmates' life at Chelmsford Prison during the festive season.

Produced by Tim Gillett (left), 'Inside at Christmas' was broadcast on December 24th 2007. It beat almost three hundred other entries from across East Anglia.

The Creative East Awards were created to acknowledge and celebrate the wealth of creative talent across the Eastern region.

BBC Essex report; Creative East Awards

Mary's interview – it starts with Graham Bannerman talking to the traffic reporter about the station 'penguins'.

Radio 2 Sixties Season still available
Chris and Mary were interviewed by producer Mark Hagen (left) for a Radio 2 documentary 'Don't Start Me Talking', where members of the public chatted to Mark about the demise of offshore radio and the start of Radios 1 and 2.

The programme is still available with others recorded as part of the Radio 2 60s Season, on 'Listen Again'. Although none of the participants was identified, Chris and Mary's voices were prominent in the production. You could also tell that Mary was still suffering from the after-effects of the 'Harwich lurgi', a nasty bug that took her voice completely for several days after the exciting events of last August!

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