Doolan gets life

Legendary broadcaster honoursd by Birmingham Press Club.

He may be suffering from dementia – but legendary broadcaster Ed Doolan can still remember the time he was refused membership of Birmingham Press Club.

“It was in March 1973. I turned up at a Press Club meeting and they told me I couldn’t join. They said I worked in radio – and wasn’t a journalist!

“Anyway, I kept going back and eventually did join when I produced my German Press Card,” said Ed, who worked at Radio Deutsche Welle before joining commercial radio station BRMB in Birmingham.

Ed recalled his first memories of the Press Club at the Club’s Christmas lunch when he was installed as an Honorary Life Member and received the traditional Press Club bugle, created by Jewellery Quarter craftsmen at J Hudson & Co, the home of world-famous Acme Whistles.

Ed later went on to join the BBC in Birmingham – where he quickly established himself as the People’s Champion pioneering social action broadcasting, becoming one of the most-listened to presenters on BBC WM 95.6FM and being installed in Radio’s Hall of Fame. As a Birmingham Mail columnist he has also written more than 950 weekly columns.

Earlier this year, Ed revealed he was now suffering from dementia and that was the reason that he had stopped working on live radio. However, his popular interview recordings are still being aired on Sunday’s at Midday on BBC WM 95.6FM – and this month, for the 22nd consecutive year, he will be comparing the radio station’s Christmas Concert, being recorded at Symphony Hall.

Tributes to Ed at the lunch were led by Press Club chairman Ed James – a presenter on Birmingham radio station Heart 100.7 – who described the Australian–born broadcaster as a “true legend” of the industry. Guests were also shown a video, voiced by Brummie comedian Jasper Carrott, which displayed photographic highlights of Ed’s career and included clips from his broadcasts.

The lunch was held at Birmingham’s International Convention Centre and attended by more than 130 guests, including the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Raymond Hassall and four former chairmen of the Press Club, Gerry Armes, Terry Field, John James and Jerry Johns.

It was sponsored by leading signage contractor Hollywood Monster, which produced special commemorative banners for the occasion that marked the Press Club’s 150th anniversary, while the drinks reception was sponsored by Deliveroo, an entrepreneurial enterprise launched as an online service to deliver food from restaurants to a customer’s kitchen table.