One of The Country’s Oldest DJ Continues to Spin His Tunes for Hospital Patients

One of the oldest DJs in the country still broadcasting twice weekly on hospital radio in Bradford, says he has no intention of hanging his headphones up.

Ninety-one-year-old Patrick Murphy, from Odsal, has been spinning tunes on St. Luke’s Hospital Radio Station, “St. Luke’s Sound”, for the past decade after he “got bored” with retirement.

Patrick, who only took up DJ-ing at the hospital at the age of 82, said:

I’ve always loved music and used to listen to Radio Luxembourg when I was a young man.

My wife Doris and I loved to go ballroom dancing every weekend at the Station Hotel on Clayton Road, in Bradford, in the 1960s but it was the same music every single night and I got fed up with it being the same songs.

I turned to a friend one day and said: ‘If I can’t change the music, I might as well start DJ-ing  as I could do a better job myself and that’s where it started. Now I’ve got around 20,000 to 30,000 CDs and a couple of thousand records that reach from floor to ceiling in a box room at the back of my house.

Patrick, who is originally from the Curragh in Co Kildare, came to London in 1945 for work, before moving to Bradford to work in the engineering trade in 1951.

When he first started DJ’g in the 1960s he said one of his favourite tunes was Bill Haley and His Comets “Rock Around the Clock”. Another favourite from the 1970s was Don Williams “You’re My Best Friend” which was released in 1975.

Patrick met his wife Doris, at the city’s Gaiety Club where the couple used to go to dance and after marrying moved to Odsal. They had one daughter, Michelle, 52. Doris sadly died of tuberculosis in 1994.

Patrick retired in 1995 and it wasn’t until he read a news story about St. Luke’s Sound appealing for volunteers in the Telegraph and Argus newspaper that he decided to apply.

He continued:

In 2012, I was a bit bored and I saw a story in the paper advertising for new DJs to help run programmes at hospital radio. I thought: ‘That’s just the job for me!’ so I went down to the station, had an interview, got the gig and have been there ever since!

I go down to St. Luke’s Sound and broadcast every Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

My signature tune is the “Oldest Swinger in Town” by Frank Cromit and I absolute love my time there. It keeps me young!

All the doctors and nurses know me and they enjoy my jokes on the radio. I like all sorts of music – my view on disco and dance is that if it gets people up and dancing, it’s great. I love Ministry of Sound, reggae, baseline, ballroom …anything and everything really!

I play the music that the people want to dance and listen to. I play for the listener, I don’t play for myself!

But there are certain songs that he steers away from:

In hospital radio, I stay away from songs about dying or heaven as people are ill and they don’t want to listen to that kind of music.

I like to play music to get people’s toes tapping and smiles to their faces. I’ve been going to St. Luke’s Sound throughout the pandemic as the studio is wiped down before I begin my show and it’s just you on your own broadcasting to the hospital and its patients.

Hospital radio is an essential service in my view means everything to me. There’s been too much misery recently in the world. For two mornings a week I am pleasing people and bringing them joy so what’s not to like about that? I get to play my happy music and bring smiles to people’s faces.

Patrick admits his regular slots get him out of the house and he enjoys the “buzz around the hospital.”

“I have no intentions of stopping,” he continued. “St. Luke’s Sound means too much to me!”

Patrick’s favourite tunes include country music like Billy Joe Spears’ “Blanket on the Ground” and “Play Me An Old Fashioned Song”) as they are “all songs you can join in with.” He’s also partial to The Hermes House Band’s version of “Country Roads” as it’s “absolutely brilliant.”

Other favourites include the Jamaican reggae singer, John Holt’s “Never, Never, Never” and

Bradford band’s Smokie’s version of “Oh Carol” and finally any songs by Neil Diamond.

Secretary for St. Luke’s Sound Hospital Radio, David Rathmell, said:

Irishman Patrick, at 91-years-old, must surely be one of the oldest hospital radio presenters in the country!

He lives not far from the hospital which means he can get to the studio in time to do his breakfast show, which then extends through the morning!

His scheduled hours are 9am to 11am on Wednesdays 9am to noon on Thursdays, but his love of entertaining the listeners means he often arrives early and starts at 8am. This shows Patrick’s enthusiasm and dedication to our radio station and we are so grateful for the time he gives to St. Luke’s Sound.

Always smiling, Patrick insists on only playing upbeat happy music because, as he says, that’s what the patients in a hospital want to hear.

If you’re in the company of Patrick, you’re with a jovial Irishman, always with a joke to tell. Long may he continue broadcasting with us.