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Radio Caroline legends return to Felixstowe seafront for commemorative weekend

PUBLISHED: 08:57 10 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:37 10 September 2017

Emperor Rosko, Tony Prince, Roger Twiggy Day, Peter Antony and Alan Turner unveil the commemorative stone in honour of Radio Caroline. Picture: NIGE BROWN

Emperor Rosko, Tony Prince, Roger Twiggy Day, Peter Antony and Alan Turner unveil the commemorative stone in honour of Radio Caroline. Picture: NIGE BROWN

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Legends of the airwaves gathered to commemorate swashbuckling pirate radio station Radio Caroline’s revolutionary transmissions from a cargo ship anchored off Felixstowe.

Alan Turner, who spent many years on board with Radio Caroline, in Felixstowe with fans. Picture: NIGE BROWNAlan Turner, who spent many years on board with Radio Caroline, in Felixstowe with fans. Picture: NIGE BROWN

A commemorative stone was unveiled at the cliff-top viewing area in Wolsey Gardens – looking out to where transmissions began in March, 1964.

Fast-talking California-born DJ, Emperor Rosko travelled from London in a convoy of Mini Mokes for events honouring the station’s early years – although his arrival was delayed by the fleet getting lost en route to the seaside.

Roger Twiggy Day shares an old picture from the days of Radio Caroline. Picture: NIGE BROWNRoger Twiggy Day shares an old picture from the days of Radio Caroline. Picture: NIGE BROWN

He was joined by the likes of Alan ‘Neddy’ Turner, Ray Clark, Mark Wesley, Roger ‘Twiggy’ Day, Ipswich-born Peter Antony – one of Radio Caroline’s newest hosts – and Tony ‘Royal Ruler’ Prince, who travelled from Maidenhead to be reunited with old colleagues.

Co-author of The Royal Ruler and the Railway DJ – about his impact on listeners in communist Czechoslovakia – Mr Prince broadcast off Felixstowe before joining Radio Caroline North.

Tony Prince with some of the Radio Caroline fans who headed to Felixstowe to mark the occasion. Picture: NIGE BROWNTony Prince with some of the Radio Caroline fans who headed to Felixstowe to mark the occasion. Picture: NIGE BROWN

“Radio Caroline was really born from the frustration of teenagers who weren’t sufficiently serviced with pop music,” he said.

“In the days of great bands, the BBC played only a handful of their records because it was up against needle time restrictions of the Musician’s Union. Instead of The Beatles, we had to put up with Bob Miller and the Millermen’s version of A Hard Day’s Night.

Former Radio Caroline DY Emperor Rosko, with 'pirates' Philippa Newbury and Penny Brook. Picture: NIGE BROWNFormer Radio Caroline DY Emperor Rosko, with 'pirates' Philippa Newbury and Penny Brook. Picture: NIGE BROWN

“Our saving grace was Radio Luxembourg. Then Ronan O’Rahilly had his idea for Radio Caroline and everything changed.

“We used to catch the tender from Harwich and go three miles out with the likes of Tony Blackburn and Kenny Everett.

Emperor Rosko arrives in Felixstowe in a convoy of Mini Mokes to get the celebrations started. Picture: NIGE BROWNEmperor Rosko arrives in Felixstowe in a convoy of Mini Mokes to get the celebrations started. Picture: NIGE BROWN

“It’s where I learned to be a DJ.”

Events in Felixstowe were also the first civic recognition of Radio Caroline being awarded a licence to broadcast to Suffolk and north Essex on the former BBC World Service medium wave frequency.

Emperor Rosko in the Radio Caroline studio on the Mi Amigo in 1966. Picture: DAVID KINDREDEmperor Rosko in the Radio Caroline studio on the Mi Amigo in 1966. Picture: DAVID KINDRED

Brian Nichols, of the Felixstowe & Offshore Radio Group, which organised events with the Felixstowe Society, said: “It was a brilliant occasion – better than we dared hope for.

“Four years ago, I wrote for the Felixstowe Society about the 50th anniversary of Radio Caroline.

Tony Blackburn on board the Radio Caroline ship, Mi Amigo, in 1965. Picture: DAVID KINDREDTony Blackburn on board the Radio Caroline ship, Mi Amigo, in 1965. Picture: DAVID KINDRED

“A conversation with chairman Philip Hadwen, who sadly died about 18 months ago, encouraged us to do something for Heritage Open Days in 2014.

“From there, we created a Facebook page – and here we are for the stone unveiling.”

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