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Tribute to Winston Nurse

Issue: 1 Updated: 22nd January 2010

Winston Nurse 1992

Winston Nurse at Medway FM The Precinct, High Street, Rochester in 1992

This is the long overdue tribute to Winston Nurse who sadly died on 31st July 2004

I'd known Winston from the early days of BBC Radio Medway & later BBC Radio Kent. He often popped into the station to have a cup of tea & yarn with the engineers. He was on Medway Hospital Radio & was gained a few bits & pieces from his visits. Barbara Sturgeon was a particular favourite of Wini's, I think she was rather fond of him too always finding time for a pleasant word

When I started work on the North Kent ILR Medway FM one of my initiatives was to use as many local people as possible, Wini' was itching to get involved & had a passion for real soul music. One of the funniest moments was one dark damp night during our test period when the link antenna to Fort Amherst fell down. Galvanized into action Wini ran out of the studio quick as a flash, grabbed a ladder & made for the roof. It was pitch dark, Wini was yelling at those on the ground to grab the guy wires he was throwing into the darkness. With just small hand torches we couldn't see a thing & suggested he smile to 'flash' his teeth so we might see him. Wini' collapsed in laughter which set the rest of us off. When we gained a full licence Wini' kept his Soul Night, his mellow voice winning a decent following & the name 'Love Sponge'

We learnt of Wini's illness in 1998, he didn't want pity just to continue with his show. Winston was a wonderful human being with a laid back & forgiving Christian nature & is still greatly missed

With love & respect to Wini's wife Suniya & his daughters - BLR

With Winston boys being boys

Tony Gold, Ian James & Winston in studio 1 Medway FM, 186 High Street, Rochester

I first met Winston Nurse back in the late 1980's when he came to work at the Antenna manufacturing company I was at, we immediately struck up a friendship that turned into a lasting personal friendship. We discovered that we shared a passion for radio, his from many years in British Forces Radio, Hospital Radio, and Local Radio and mine helping out Pat Marsh, Jim Ensom, Rod Lucas on BBC Radio Kent & later Caesar the Boogieman on Invicta FM and listening to the most incredible 80's North Sea Radio Ship Laser 558

One evening Winston invited me to Gravesend where he was presenting "Winston's Soul Train" on "The River" I of course, could not wait to get down there and have a look. Winston told me that he had become involved with Medway FM" They had just done a 28 day RSL and were working towards a full term licence. In September 1997 the station went on air with Winston working the weekend evening Soul Show it was a pleasure for me to spend time answering phones, making tea and researching items for Winston where he earned the nickname "Love Sponge", due to his Love of soul music and his hair style that resembled a sponge! Towards the end of the 1990's Winston's health deteriorated and he was eventually diagnosed with prostrate cancer which following an operation and stay in Kings College Hospital, which didn't deter him from lugging records to the studio

My memories of Winston will always be those on radio, the famous "Winston's Weather" where just as he started to read it someone would burst into the studio and grab it, tear it, burn it or have written that snow was due, even though it was mid summer. The happiest memory for me will be one night in June 2004 when I was doing an 80's show on 'The Link' on the Isle-of-Sheppey. At the time Winston was quite ill but determined to do his show. He'd rested all week and on the day in question I phoned ahead to see if we were still on knowing in my heart of hearts that this was going to be the last time we'd ever share a studio, I was determined to make it a great night

In advance I had fully prepared the show sat Winston down in front of the desk and told him to enjoy himself, although he tired quite quickly we had a fantastic night, no one listening would never have known that anything was wrong with him as just over 6 weeks later Winston passed away at the Lions Hospice in Gravesend with his family and close friends beside him. I will always be grateful to Suniya, Sabrina, Samantha and Stephanie for allowing me to be there until the end. Go Bless Love Sponge - Tony Gold

Love Sponge in action

The 'Love Sponge' in full flow in studio 3 Medway FM

I was so shocked to hear about Winston years before I bumped into him at Medway FM I had the pleasure of meeting Winston when I volunteered to work at Hospital Radio North Kent, based in Bath Street, Gravesend in the 70's. He was such a warm, wonderful and likeable guy. He made me feel at home at RNK even though I was only there as a helper and not on Air. I had been invited to the station at the time by a work mate from " Curry's" the electrical store in Gravesend called Len Wells. I'm saddened by his passing such a lovely guy and a great broadcaster - Jerry Wright

Winston on the dog n bone

On-Air taking one of the 100's of calls he fielded mostly from ladies in love with his voice

Having been away from my hometown of Gravesend for more years than I care to remember I was so pleased when I saw the Tribute to Winston Nurse. Winston was a great friend of mine and I'm proud to have known him. Our friendship began long before I became involved in radio. I was in the North Kent Hospital A&E having some stitches in a knee injury and while I was there I could hear this guy chatting away, playing pretty good music and all coming out of a tiny speaker on the wall

I asked the nurse a few questions as I had never heard of 'hospital radio' before. The nurse took me down to the studio and introduced me to the guy on air who was none other than Winston. As I got know Winston it was clear that he loved radio as much as life itself. A couple of my fondest memories of Winston include the time he presented a weekly show on a local, not so legal station that I'd become involved with. I had built a studio at home for the purpose of recording the shows and Winston would turn up religiously every week with a carefully prepared show. He would sit down, roll the cassette and do the whole show in one take

Party time

Party time Winston with work mate & close friend Tony Gold celebrating Tony's 30th

Several years later I was working in Ireland. I often suggested to Winston that he should come over and do a show just for the experience if nothing else. For all the right reasons, including being a loyal family man he never took me up on the offer but whenever I returned to Gravesend I would look Winston up and we would talk about the 'good days' as you do

I remember calling in to Hospital Radio North Kent to see Winston as he presented his Sunday show, I was due to fly back to Dublin that evening. I walked in, sat down and put some headphones on. Winston suddenly opened the guest mic' and started asking me all sorts of questions about radio in Ireland. At the time I thought this is a bit self indulgent! But as this impromtu interview went on it became obvious to me just how versatile a broadcaster Winston was. Later that week Winston called me to say that our on air chat, which had gone on for over two hours, had generated a positive response

My brother also got to know Winston, he was manager of a Gravesend shopping centre and worked closely with 'The River' & it was my brother who called to tell me Winston had died. Winston was one of the good guys of radio, as I said earlier I'm proud to have been his friend, memories are fantastic to have but I wish he was still around - Tony McKenzie

Winston Nurse Medway FM Presenter portfolio Winston Nurse Medway FM Presenter portfolio

Winston Nurse Medway FM Presenter portfolio

02/10/09 - was so touched by all the lovely things said about the lovely man Winston Nurse. I had known Winston since the 1980's and I agree that he was something special. He was a true friend and he certainly knew his music, I know he is missed by a lot of people and I so wish he was still around, things are just not the same anymore - Valerie Mootoo

In Memory tag


A final word from Winston Nurse May 2005

25/5/05 - While Sponge was in the Lions Hospice he recieved two very moving CD recordings from Gerry Stevens (Medway FM's Breakfast Jock) & Bob Medway FM's Programme Director. Ian then took an Mini-Disc recorder into the Hospice where Sponge had a few things of his own to say!

Please feel free to share the above audio clip with anyone you feel might like to hear it. I still miss him terribly but feel proud to have known him, worked with him, to have comforted him and to call him my friend - Tony Gold

31/07/10 - I never knew, until Friday, that Winston had left us. I remember it was him that taught me everything i needed to know about being on air the day before, and the show before I ever went live on air for the first time. (MLR) He taught me how to enjoy my shows and sound the way i do. I read the tribute on your web site, and tonight we raised a glass to Winston Nurse.

Feel free to publish any of this on your site mate, he was a truly great man who will never be forgotten!!

All the best, Darren Rogers

If you knew Winston or listened to his programmes please mail us your tribute

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