David Jay

Growing up listening avidly to 60s Offshore Radio, I always hoped that one day I might have a go live on air; but if you’d said to me when I joined Susy at its launch in 2012 that twelve years later I’d still be taking care of three afternoons a week on 103.4, I’d have laughed it off. Yet that’s how things turned out. It’s been my pleasure to channel the spirit of those offshore days through twelve years’ worth of 3.20pm teabreaks with twelve years’ worth of mugs of Susy Builders’; plus twelve years’ worth of 2.30pm animal stories – we lost my old rotund black pussycat superstar Winston in 2019, but in the grey and silver tabby tiger stripes of his successor Levi, those mighty pawprints have been filled as ‘A Word From Winston’ became ‘Love From Levi’ – and it’s all backed up with Diamond Music, mainly for grown-ups, from the 50s to the current chart. The Afternoon Stroll takes to the airwaves between 2 and 4pm every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, broadcast since September 2022 from Levi’s Cat Basket.

In 2017 Jim Richman and I celebrated together on air the 50th anniversary of Offshore Radio’s closure, and in 2024 we did individual shows to celebrate the nostalgia surrounding the 60th anniversary of Radio Caroline’s launch – that’s the station that started it all in 1964.  It was my honour to take charge of eight successive live commentaries from eight different local venues at commemorations on Remembrance Sunday morning, and then in 2019 to present a Remembrance Special from the studio. Along the way I’ve turned my hand to many aspects of local life on the show, not least the pandemic, which presented many challenges.  After taking an eight weeks’ break, the Stroll returned and stepped up with its attempt to provide perspective and reassurance, through those troubling days until the cloud passed.

My thanks go, of course, to Winston, Levi and those of my Susy colleagues who have helped to make all this possible: but in the end it’s about Redhill, Reigate, Horley, and Crawley – and all our listeners and contributors, regular and occasional: so my thanks especially to you for the growing loyalty of yourselves and of your own pets, as the Cat Basket family has developed. I hope there’ll be many more opportunities for us to stroll musically and metaphorically together, and in the meantime, mind how you go.