COMMUNITY radio champion Shirley Ludford has dedicated a prestigious award for her services to the town to the volunteers at Swindon 105.5.

The community station’s manager picked up a High Sheriff of Wiltshire award for promoting philanthropy and devoting her time freely to help others.

William Wyldbore-Smith presented the trophy to Shirley at a special event at the Tri-Centre, as the Zurich Community Trust also picked up a gong on the night.

She said she was delighted to be a recipient so soon after the station, based in the Bentley Centre, Stratton Road, turned six years old.

“It’s lovely to have that recognition, particularly for 105.5, because it has been a lot of work and we’ve had some marvellous successes,” she said.

The former BBC Wiltshire presenter, known to her fans as the voice of Swindon, has been at the forefront of many of the town’s major events and organisations over the years, including the Pride of Swindon awards and the former Swindon’s Got Talent competition, which discovered X Factor star Jahmene Douglas.

But it’s the more low-key victories that Shirley feels are most important.

“Since we started the staiton six years ago we have had young people going to college and university, others have gone into the media business and we’ve given opportunities to people who have not otherwise been able to get work,” she said. “That is why I carry on doing it.

“It was quite emotional when they were reading out the citation for the award, and they even mentioned when I was 17 years old and was teaching local Polish women English.

“The award was for outstanding achievement and promoting philanthropy, most recently as head of Swindon 105.5. Really this award is for them, the station would not be what it is without them.”

Swindon 105.5 last year won a five-year extension to its licence and there have been a whole host of intitiatives, including working with Wiltshire Police to give young people a chance in radio.

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