Paul Brighton 1959-2021

We had a mini BBC Radio WM 80s/90s reunion today (10 Jan 2022).

Sadly we were together for the funeral of our friend and colleague Paul Brighton at Tettenhall, but it was lovely to see Carole, Kasel, Louise and Claire after so many years.

I never knew that Paul had once reached the Semi-Finals of Mastermind.

Lots of laughs and good memories, just as it should be. RIP Paul.

Tim Beech

Paul Brighton

Radio WM Presenter, Paul Brighton

(The following obituary was written by Paul Brighton’s friend and colleague, Tim Beech. Paul sadly died in 23 Nov 2021).
I am very sad to report that the former BBC WM presenter Paul Brighton has died at the age of only 62.

Paul was part of a Golden Age for WM in the 1990s during which he presented the “Coming Home” programme. He had previously produced Ed Doolan.

A highly intelligent man, Paul was originally a Wolverhampton Grammar School boy who went on to study at Cambridge. He was fascinated by politics, serving at one time as a local councillor, and he continued to satisfy his love for journalism and broadcasting as the Executive Principal Lecturer and Head of Media and Film at Wolverhampton University, a post he held for several years.

I got to know Paul extremely well during the many years he sat opposite the WM sports team, and later also had the privilege of giving a number of talks to support his course at Wolverhampton, as well as partnering a student placement programme for some of his cohort while I was managing BBC Radio Shropshire.

He is gone far too soon at a young age and his death will sadden a great many former colleagues and friends who enjoyed both his bright company and his great intelligence for many years. RIP.

Tim Beech

Radio WM Sports Team circa 1990

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission











This is the Radio WM Sports Team circa 1990. It was taken on the front lawn at Pebble Mill and includes, left to right: John Platt, Tim Beech, Simon Brotherton, Ian Winter.

Thanks to Tim Beech for sharing the photo.

Radio WM Sports Team at Superprix 1986

Photo from Rod Fawcett, no reproduction without permission












Included in the photo are (left to right): Stuart Miller chief engineer at Radio WM sitting down laughing, ?, Mike Ronson(?), Rob Hawthorne with the Uher, Annie Barker in yellow jacket.

Thanks to Rod Fawcett for sharing this photo of the Radio WM sports team at the first Birmingham Superprix in 1986.

(The Superprix was a street based motorsport event in Birmingham. The highlight was the Formula 3000 race.)

The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Rod Fawcett: ‘I remember the gig quite well. We were set up in a Portakabin right next to the start / finish line on Bristol Street. The motor racing noise within the cabin was astonishing as it resonated the walls, ceiling, everything!! We kept going of course. The young reporter with the Uher tape recorder is Rob Hawthorne – now an established football commentator with Sky Sports.’

Gordon Astley: ‘ was taken out for a skidpan type ride with the Italian Job Mini team. I felt nauseous for the rest of the day.’

Tim Beech: ‘I remember the last Superprix was in 1990, a year after I joined the WM sports team. Rob had just left, but Ian was Sports Editor and Annie had started with Central. Great pic – great memories!’

Marilyn Ward: ‘Central had the broadcasting commission.’

Rod Fawcett: ‘Hi Marilyn and thanks go to Central TV as you were kind to give us a courtesy monitor race feed to use for commentary purposes.’

Keith Conlon: ‘I think the guy in the background was a sports reporter and I think his name was Mike Ronson i think but his surname may be wrong.’

Lawrie Bloomfield Obituary May 2014

[This obituary to Lawrie Bloomfield, by Tim Beech, was published in Ariel in May 2014:]

Lawrie Bloomfield, who has died at the age of 80, was the hugely popular manager who started BBC Radio Shropshire and guided it through its first nine years.

He was responsible for starting and developing the careers of many fine broadcasters – as well as bringing a sense of fun and enterprise to all that he did.

Lawrie followed his father into journalism on the Portsmouth Evening News and made his broadcast debut on Radio Newsreel in 1959 and, after several years freelancing on regional television and featuring regularly on Sports Report, he joined BBC Radio Solent in 1970. He later became station manager at BBC Radio Lincolnshire before putting together the team at Radio Shropshire in 1985.

He was one of the Corporation’s very best talent scouts, giving opportunities to a whole generation of talented and skilful journalists and broadcasters, many of whom can still be heard and seen across both BBC and commercial networks.








Lawrie Bloomfield and colleagues on Radio Shropshire’s first day in 1985

Back at 70

Radio Shropshire soon enjoyed some of the highest listening figures in the country thanks to Lawrie establishing what was seen as a more modern and bright style of local radio broadcasting. He set a high standard and the station continues to be one of the country’s most successful due in no small measure to the outstanding foundations he laid.

After retiring from the BBC in 1994, Lawrie was appointed MBE for services to radio broadcasting and continued to be active through the Thomson Foundation, training and advising young journalists and broadcasters from around the world. He also returned to work at his beloved BBC Radio Shropshire, producing, presenting and reporting.

The station’s former news editor John Shone recalls: ‘He absolutely loved it and we loved having him in the newsroom. At 70 he was back at the sharp end and in top form. His experience was such a great asset to the station and he always gave sound advice and great encouragement, especially to younger members of the team.’

‘Way ahead’

A measure of the affection felt for Lawrie comes in the many tributes that have been made. ‘He was one of the greats’… ‘a lovely boss to work for and a great team-builder’ … ‘like a favourite uncle to me and gave me my first chance at presenting’ … ‘Lawrie was my favourite (boss) because we all always felt he was ‘on our side” … ‘a larger than life character, a pioneer of the new wave of BBC Local Radio stations’… ‘one of the old school who built local radio from nothing in the early days’ … ‘Lawrie was way ahead of the others – three women breakfast presenters in the first four years – and such a line-up of talent’ … ‘there was never a manager like him!’

His son Colin, now breakfast presenter at BBC Radio Derby, said: ‘He was a big inspiration for me. I would not be doing it now if it wasn’t for him.’

And the former head of local radio and network radio in the Midlands, Owen Bentley, described Lawrie as ‘one of local radio’s great characters’.

For giving chances to so many, leading with skill and inspiration, establishing a great local radio station and above all for being a wonderful person, Lawrie will be remembered with huge affection and gratitude. Our sympathies are with Colin and his mum Alison.

Tim Beech, managing editor, Radio Shropshire