The full citation for Desmond Carrington's Lifetime Achievement Award:
"Desmond has been broadcasting for over 70 years. For his faithful audience, he’s managed that difficult trick. To became a real, and lasting friend. He turned 90 earlier this year and retired on 28th October from the show he’d been presenting since October 1981.
The music he’s played. The charm he’s demonstrated. The fact that he was broadcasting during the second world war could suggest his audience was primarily those who’d grown up with him. But his appeal was far broader.
Desmond has shown an independent spirit from the start - and indeed he formed what was effectively the first Independent Production Company in the 1950s to make programmes for the BBC. He’s also been a member of the Radio Independents Group from the beginning.
There are many broadcast highlights, but a poignant edition of All Time Greats in 1989 is still remembered by some. That 3-hour live broadcast took place exactly 50 years after the declaration of World War II. After the chimes of Big Ben, he opened with the immortal words: “This is London”. The programme won the Gold Award for ‘Best Live Documentary’ in New York that year, Desmond was also awarded the Gold Badge of Merit by BASCA.
It should be said - to all radio hopefuls - that early on he went through the ritual of a BBC audition where he was told his voice “was not suitable for broadcasting”. I think he may have had the last laugh where that’s concerned.
And now - he’s retiring - but a story that typifies this unique man was the fact that he suffered a second heart attack on Christmas Day 2015, and was operated on within two hours. But he was back behind the microphone just 10 days later making sure that neither Radio 2’s management nor his audience were aware of what had happened. In short he’s a man who exemplifies modesty, concern for others and a reassuring warmth and optimism.
In his final show, he urged listeners to ‘dream the impossible dream, not to forget the music and to pass on the best bits to future generations’
It was a plea delivered from the heart, by someone uniquely qualified to make that rallying call.
Well, Desmond, we thank you. Thanks for championing the music you love, having us round to your place while you did it, and for keeping radio at the centre of your life.