A RADIO service which aims to cheer up people during visits to hospital has won two national awards.

Eileen Thompson and John Middleton, who are both volunteers at Durham Hospitals Radio, picked up the awards for their special broadcasts to patients.

Ms Thompson, from Chester-le-Street, won a silver award for her report on walking in the Cheviots, while Mr Middleton, from Durham, got a bronze award for a special event report of Durham Regatta.

Ms Thompson, a children’s entertainer, said: “We were all pretty delighted because we’re only a small station and we are all volunteers.

“It’s a massive effort. We were over the moon.”

The National Hospital Radio Awards 2018 were held in Windsor.

Durham Hospitals Radio has been running since the 1960s and is broadcast at the University Hospital of North Durham.

It broadcasts daily and its shows, put together by a team of around 12 volunteers, include music and reports from local events and sports fixtures.

Ms Thompson, who has been a volunteer with the radio for five years, also visits the hospital’s Treetops ward to do ventriloquist shows for the children staying there.

She decided to get involved after being interviewed on another radio station.

She said: “I was on the other side of it and I liked the idea of working in radio but when I looked at all the equipment I thought there was no way I could learn it. But really if you’re interested you can get over your demons so I did a course on computers and learned what to do.

“I love meeting people and taking requests to cheer them up. Music is a great healer. It does help people to get better.”

She added: “The team is like a family. We’re very close and all ages, including a couple of students from the university.”

She put together her silver winning broadcast after taking part in a three peak Cheviots Challenge, which included clips of nature as well as interviews of some of the people she came across on the 12 mile hike.

Mr Middleton, who commentates on football matches from The Stadium of Light, St James’ Park and Ferens Park, where Durham Women play, for the station, won his award for a collection of interviews put together from Durham Regatta, which takes place every June.

Andy Harrower, director of broadcast and online licensing at PRS for Music, said: “We were once again delighted to have supported the awards and conference, celebrating the dedication of all involved with hospital radio.”