Havant-based radio station boss’s future in doubt

FOUNDER Angel Radio station manager Tony Smith in May this year
FOUNDER Angel Radio station manager Tony Smith in May this year
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THE founder of Angel Radio fears the station will suffer because he is being forced to stop volunteering at the station.

Tony Smith has worked without pay at the station since he set it up in 1998, living off his savings.

The Havant-based Angel Radio is a lifeline to older people and, as well as only playing music made before 1960, it provides information, help and advice to pensioners.

His savings ran out at Christmas – the same time he suffered two strokes that left him disabled.

For the first time he is claiming benefits but, after a medical test, he has been told he is fit to work and his benefits will be cut unless he does.

Now he fears the station will suffer because he will not be able to devote enough time to the station.

Mr Smith, 59, said: ‘I had a couple of strokes before Christmas and I ended up on Employment and Support Allowance.

‘I was asked to go for a medical exam and they said I was fit for work which means I can’t do my Angel Radio work.

‘The station doesn’t make enough money for me to get paid. If I took a wage the station would very probably close down.

‘I had a collection of memorabilia that I gradually sold just to pay for my food and rent but that has gone.’

Mr Smith is now pinning his hopes on a donor coming forward to fund his role at the station.

He said: ‘Surely there must be a funder or business who sees the value of what I do in the community who could fund my wage?

‘I was able to do it for 10 years as a volunteer living on my savings but they were finite.’

He has put together a website listing his skills in a bid to find paid work but worries that the stress will make him ill again. He says the only reason he can work at Angel Radio is because he has adapted the workplace to fit his disability which he could not do elsewhere.

Dennis Ansell, a community leader from Leigh Park, said: ‘Tony has devoted his life to Angel Radio and it is terrible that he is being forced to leave.’

Anyone who would like to help should call the station on 0800 014 1955 or go to bit.ly/18JO4TP.