SWINDON will have a lovely Surprise Surprise on Sunday when the much loved station manager at Swindon 105.5 appears on the popular ITV show.
Shirley Ludford, who has run the community radio station in Stratton Road for the past six years, had the surprise of her life when the whole of 90s pop group Boyzone walked through the studio doors in Shrivenham Road. The former BBC Wiltshire presenter, who was nominated by her son James to appear in a Mother’s Day special of the show, said: “I was stitched up big time.
“One of my volunteers’ father had died and we wanted to do an obituary, and I was right in the middle of that when the crew asked me to come into the studio for the filming.
“I didn’t realise I was keeping waiting so many people, including Boyzone.
“I think the first thing I said when they came in was ‘you are the best Boyzone lookalikes I have ever seen.’”
James contacted ITV about a year ago, telling his mother that they were looking for ideas for community projects. After an interview on Skype the production company decided to visit the station and do some filming.
They came back several times and on the final occasion, they specified that they wanted to film Shirley as though she was presenting a show.
She said: “I did think it was strange they wanted to keep coming back to film but I just thought they might be doing a fly-on-the-wall documentary or something.
“When I went into the studio and I sat down I presented the start of a show, and then they asked me to do it again without the Swindon 105.5 jingles.
“That’s when they walked into the studio with James behind them.”
Shirley, who is known to her fans as the voice of Swindon, has spent her career supporting others to reach their dreams and goals.
She said: “It was the kind of thing that only happens to other people. It was over so quickly too.
“I have always done this for other people so it’s been quite lovely that someone wanted to do that for me.”
James, who initially contacted ITV and filled in the online form to take part, was delighted that his mum finally had the recognition she deserves.
He said: “She’s someone who works tirelessly to help others and she brings about change in peoples lives and I wanted to see her get something, and enjoy a day where she wasn’t looking after other people but other people were looking after her.
“I didn’t know that Boyzone would be coming along either so that was a surprise for me too.”
Shirley will be on Sunday night’s Surprise Surprise show on ITV from 7pm.