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04th Feb 2022

91-year-old Irishman is one of the oldest DJs spinning on UK radio

Patrick Murphy is one of the oldest DJs spinning in the UK.

And he’s not about to stop now. The 91-year-old has been on the airwaves for over a decade, ever since he “got bored” with retirement.

Patrick, who lives in Bradford but was born in Kildare, boasts two morning slows on St Luke’s Sound Hospital Radio every Wednesday and Thursday. There, he spins everything from ballroom to baseline to reggae.

“I’ve always loved music and used to listen to Radio Luxembourg when I was a young man,” he says, via the NHS website. 

“My wife Doris and I loved to go ballroom dancing every weekend at the Station Hotel on Clayton Road, in Bradford, in the 1960s but it was the same music every single night and I got fed up with it being the same songs.”

He went on: “I turned to a friend one day and said: ‘If I can’t change the music, I might as well start DJ-ing  as I could do a better job myself and that’s where it started. Now I’ve got around 20,000 to 30,000 CDs and a couple of thousand records that reach from floor to ceiling in a box room at the back of my house.”

Patrick moved to the UK from Ireland to look for work in 1945. He eventually settled in Bradford with his wife and worked as an engineer until his retirement in 1995.

But a love of music and desire to spread joy to others took him to the NHS hospital airwaves when he was 82-years-old. After seeing an advertisement for volunteers in the local paper, he decided to give it a shot.

“My signature tune is the ‘Oldest Swinger in Town’ by Frank Cromit and I absolute love my time there. It keeps me young!” he says.

“All the doctors and nurses know me and they enjoy my jokes on the radio. I like all sorts of music – my view on disco and dance is that if it gets people up and dancing, it’s great. I love Ministry of Sound, reggae, baseline, ballroom …anything and everything really!

“I play the music that the people want to dance and listen to. I play for the listener, I don’t play for myself!”

It’s not just the patients who go wild for Patrick’s shows, but the staff in the hospital too. Secretary for St. Luke’s Sound Hospital Radio, David Rathmell, says that the 91-year-old surely must be one of the oldest DJs in the country.

“He lives not far from the hospital which means he can get to the studio in time to do his breakfast show, which then extends through the morning,” he says.

“Always smiling, Patrick insists on only playing upbeat happy music because, as he says, that’s what the patients in a hospital want to hear.

“If you’re in the company of Patrick, you’re with a jovial Irishman, always with a joke to tell. Long may he continue broadcasting with us.”

Long may he continue indeed.

Images via NHS Bradford.