Author Archives: Bob Simpson

About Bob Simpson

The O'Jays were right about me - I Love Music, Any Kinda Music! Brought up on The Beatles, wandered through the seventies dancing to anything from reggae to Led Zeppelin and took up the microphone and decks all around East London and Essex when I wasn't doing my boring day job. Entered the world of radio in July 2011 and feel home at last. Thanks for visiting. Send me a message or request via Facebook on the link below - you are most welcome.

Rucksack Appeal a Great Success! Thank You Brentwood and Billericay.

Back in December last year I reported on the appearance of a wheelie bin in Billericay library asking for donations to help the homeless. This turned out to be the social project “Cool to be Kind” in association with the Essex Youth Offending Team. You can read my original post here

Well now I have just heard from the Essex Youth Offending Service – The appeal was a great success!

Over the past six weeks the young people, who are carrying out reparation work with the YOS, have collected, sorted and prepared items donated by the public, including warm clothes, sleeping bags and non-perishable food.

The group packed a total of 177 complete rucksacks ready to be delivered to people living on the streets in Essex and beyond.

Dan from the Cool to be Kind project said: “On behalf of myself and the team, I would like to thank everyone from Essex Youth Offending Service for their tremendous effort in galvanising young people and members of the community, and donating so many full rucksacks.

“The rucksacks are full of essential items that will benefit a homeless person during these cold months and have been distributed, not only in towns across Essex, but also in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk.

“These donations also make up just over 50% of the total rucksacks donated to the project this winter and I hope we can replicate these efforts again next winter. “

Karen Sinclair, Referral Order Co-ordinator for Essex YOS and Essex County Council lead for the rucksack project, said: “Our collaboration with Cool to be Kind has been such an astounding success and we have been amazed at the generosity of the local community and everyone involved.

“We are very proud to have helped the team with the work they do to support homeless people, and happy to have been able to give our young people the chance to contribute to this important project.”

Essex YOS work with many young people aged 10-18 who carry out ‘reparation’ as part of their court order.

The service ensures all its reparation work with young people is restorative and involves giving back to the local community, including charities, not-for-profit agencies and those who are most vulnerable in our society.

Councillor Dick Madden, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “I’m really proud of the efforts of our Youth Offending Service and the young people that work with them.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in supporting the Cool to be Kind project, including our local communities for the generosity they’ve shown.”

The YOS is always looking to contribute to projects to help vulnerable individuals across Essex. If you have an idea for the team, please contact Karen Sinclair on or 07921 912509.

The Fold Arts Centre Billericay – Angie McGlashon

The Billericay Arts Association was set up in 1979 as a registered charity to run The Fold in Billericay, as a community arts centre. It is run and staffed by unpaid volunteer members
Today I was pleased to welcome Angie McGlashon to the studio to tell us all about what goes on at The Fold and in particular the children’s show that they have planned for tomorrow (Friday)

Angie McGlashon

You can listen to our chat here –

The Fold’s website is here

Here are the details of tomorrow’s show –

Captain Cauliflower and Marvin the Mischievous Moose
Friday 16th February

Come and join the invincible Captain Cauliflower and his faithful companion Marvin on an unforgettable adventure, filled with extreme silliness and unquestionable danger.

Marvin the Mischievous Moose presents Captain Cauliflower with a mystical magic hat that gives him super powers. We then follow his adventures into outer space and deep under the ocean, saving those in peril, but can he beat his arch nemesis the evil and odorous Onion Man?
Dan Lees and Neil Frost invite you on an adventure that combines clowning, playful games and chaotic fun that’s suitable for all the family.
Ideal for children 3+. Performance lasts 50 minutes
Tickets: £5.00 children and £8.00 adults
Family offer (2 adults & 2 children) £22.00


Billericay Acts of Random Kindness with Matt Everard

Local hero Matt Everard came into the Phoenix studio to tell us all about this new group dedicated to spreading kindness and bringing the community together. In a very short time the group now has over 1500 members and has already carried out many kind acts in the local community.

Matt Everard

You can listen to our chat here –

Bob and Matt

If you would like to get involved in this great new movement in Billericay, can offer or need help, you can join the B.A.R.K. Facebook group here


Marathon Man Dr Eric Watts – Cancer Support and Changes to NHS Services

As a survivor of teenage cancer Dr Eric Watts took up a career in medicine and worked as a GP in Clapham and Canada before specialising in haematology.
Eric became a consultant and later became a clinical director at Basildon Hospital.
One of Dr Eric’s current projects is The Brentwood Cancer Support and Survivorship Group otherwise known as Tea and Talk at Toby’s which has been running for well over a year now.

Dr Watts came into Phoenix today to give us an update on the cancer support group and to talk about proposed changes to local NHS services.

Dr Eric Watts

You can listen to our chat here –


There is a consultation about the proposed changes going on at the moment. You can add your own views here

Tea and Talk at Toby’s now has their own Facebook page. You can find it here

Dr Eric is also an athlete and will be running in this year’s London Marathon in support of The Teenage Cancer Trust. You can donate here

Billericay Acts of Random Kindness

There’s a stirring in Billericay! But it’s a good one.

Matt Everard

Back on the 12th January Matt Everard, someone better known for his great sense of humour and wit, posted the following on Facebook –

“Indulge me in a serious post for a moment.

This year I want to gather an army of Billericay people.

I want to hear from Billericay folk who are prepared to give up a few hours a month to join me.

We are going to work together to improve things in our town and create a great community by pooling our resources to help others.

The people of Billericay are going to tell us what needs doing and the army are going to solve it.

There won’t be lots of meetings and committees – decisions are going to made quickly to achieve the fastest and maximum results.

I want to encourage and engage in “random acts of kindness” in our town.

I am looking for individuals, couples, groups, community figures, local businesses and people of all ages and ability.

By organising a group, people will make new friends in the town, maybe have a laugh and feel happy.

Personally, I want to be happy. I have read that helping others is a great way to feel happy.

So yes, in that way I am doing it for Matt Everard.

Good things are already starting to happen and it’s not been a week yet.”

What a brilliant idea!

So I’ve joined the Billericay Acts of Random Kindness Facebook group. It’s early days yet and we don’t quite know how it’s going to work in practise but there are already more than 500 members ready and willing to join Matt’s Army.

I thought I’d try something simple the other day when I was out and about, simply smiling at people, and I was surprised that most people smiled back.

Give it a try, it could even start a conversation. And why not join the group and spread the kindness?

The BARK Facebook page is here

I Hope to get Matt in for a chat on air soon. Let’s start a movement!

Matt takes on The Billericay Soapbox Derby last year

Billericay Rugby Football Club Supporting the Local Community

Towards the end of last year one of my guests on the show was Joe Clarke, president of Billericay Rugby Football club who came in to tell us all about the club and how they were connecting with the community.

Well now Billericay Rugby Football Club has donated £1,225.00 in support of Basildon Hospital Children’s Unit for Maintenance Chemotherapy.

Members of the NHS team Dee Harris and Clair Grayston met up with club members to collect the cheque and discuss how the money will be spent.

Left to right – Dee Harris, NHS, Clair Grayston, NHS, Angela Jasper, Alicia Jasper, aged 10, Geoff Maynard, Joe Clarke, President BRFC, Dave Watkins, Members of Billericay RFC committee

Joe said “Former player and club member Jake Fisk’s young daughter Ceci was diagnosed with Leukaemia just days before her first birthday in 2016.  Although Ceci continues to undergo extensive chemotherapy treatment, it is hoped that this will come to an end in February 2018.  We all have our fingers crossed and wish Ceci and her amazing family the very best for what has been a very tough journey.”

“With incredible care coming from Gt Ormond Street and that of the Children’s Unit at Basildon Hospital, albeit with limited resources and equipment, it gave the community rugby club the idea to hold a VP’s lunch.”

“Two of our junior members, Willow and Alicia Jasper aged 10, held a sale of their ‘soft toys’ to raise much needed funds.  These funds were initially identified to go toward child friendly IV/drip trolleys at the Basildon Hospital rather than using adult versions.”

“Should you wish to make further donations we know the family would also love you to support CLIC Sargent – they fight for young cancer patients to ensure they thrive, not just survive.”

CLIC Sargent’s website is here

Analyse My Dream and Introducing Song Connections

Really enjoyed todays show which was a bit of a surprise as I was still reeling from a very strange dream I had last night.
After a disastrous photography assignment where I couldn’t get the camera to work properly I had to report back to David Attenborough at the BBC. In the lift I couldn’t remember whether David was located on the 5th or the 6th floor so instead of pressing either button I pressed the button marked “Prawn Sandwich £3”
A prawn sandwich appeared but I kept pressing the button and I ended up with armfuls of them without being charged. If anyone knows how to analyse dreams perhaps you could let me know the meaning of this one!

I also introduced a new feature on today’s show – Song Connections.

Three songs with something in common. Guess the connection,

I made the first one really easy, they will get much harder!

Maximo Park – Girls Who Play Guitars

Justin Hayward – Blue Guitar

The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps

You don’t need me to tell you the connection this week but look out for future Song Connections, you’ll be scratching your head!

Bye for now…

The Billericay Discussion Page Christmas Request Show

The Billericay Discussion Page is a Facebook group with over 23,000 members discussing all things Billericay, from lost shoes to the best takeaways, taxi services and moans about bad parking. In fact it’s anything Billericay related and is a great community resource if you want to know what’s going on in the town.Santa-Claus-carrying-sack-of-gifts

So last month I asked the good people of Billericay via the discussion page to tell us what their favourite Christmas song of all time was and this show contains all of their requests and dedications. But let’s not forget the good people of Brentwood too, you are most welcome to listen in!

You can listen to the show here:

The requests featured are:

The Pogues and Kirsty McColl – Fairytale of New York for Karen Watson,  Sarah Ann Horgan, Nikki Hammond, and Kellie Davison

Wham – Last Christmas for Susan Dale and Kerry Nicholls Pearce

The Crystals – Parade of the Wooden Soldiers for Neill Tobin

Roland Rat – Ding Dong Ding Dong Christmas Down the Drain for Bill Ratkins

The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping for Jo Hardiman, Nicci Swainbank and Jude Edwards

Greg Lake – I Believe in Father Christmas for Ash Drake

Billy Fury – My Christmas Prayer for Daniel Heeney

Mariah Carey – All I Want for Christmas is You for Julie Newman, Susan Dale, Amy Rendell and Debbie Butcher

Bad Religion – White Christmas and The Ramones – Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight) for Neil Burgess

Kylie Minogue – Santa Baby and Jonah Lewie – Stop The Cavalry and Bobby Helms – Jingle Bell Rock for Emma Stevens

The Ronettes – Sleigh Ride for Sarah Kilby

Dora Bryan – All I Want for Christmas is a Beatle for Jacqui James

Elmo and Patsy – Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer for Maggi Warren

The Darkness – It’s Christmas Time for Jackie Rayner

Bob Dylan – Must Be Santa for Anne Clarke

Slade – Merry Christmas Everybody for Adam Adshead

Pentatonix – Mary Did You Know for John Humphries

Wizzard – I Wish It Could be Christmas Every Day and Bing Crosby and David Bowie – The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth for Linda Campling

Thanks to all who contributed their requests to the show. I couldn’t have done it without you!


Billericay Street Pastors – Phil Norton

Billericay Street pastors are Christian volunteers from local churches who provide non-judgemental care and support to people using Billericay town centre on Friday and Saturday nights.
They are part of a national team first pioneered in 2003, and Street Pastors continues to grow throughout the UK and across the world.

Joining me today to tell us all about the Street Pastors and what they do was Phil Norton.

Phil Norton

Phil Norton

You can listen to our chat here –

You can find out more about the Billericay Street Pastors here

and The Ascension Trust website is here

The Street Pastor Team at Billericay Christmas Market this year.

The Street Pastor Team at Billericay Christmas Market this year.



Fame The Musical – Shenfield High School

Shenfield High School  has an excellent Drama department and earlier this year I was delighted to be invited to see their superb whole school production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.  Each year a variety of students from all years take part in a full scale musical and their next production early next year is Fame The Musical.

Joining me today was course Teacher Mrs Rachel Bryan along with students Lily Dawson, Lucia Rawlings, Amy Hollingsworth, and Dan West.

Lily Dawson, Lucia Rawlings, Amy Hollingsworth,  Dan West and Mrs Bradley

Lily Dawson, Lucia Rawlings, Amy Hollingsworth, Dan West and Mrs Bryan

You can listen to our chat and two great live performances here –

Here are some pictures from the early rehearsals for the musical

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Billericay Rugby Football Club – Joe Clarke

Billericay Rugby Football Club was formed in late 1959 by members of the St Johns Cricket Club. The Club’s first full fixture took place in February 1960 versus a Brentwood XV and since then the club has built steadily.  Billericay’s 1st team have had a very successful season so far this year winning 6 of their 9 matches and are 2nd in the Essex One division.

It was good to welcome Club President Joe Clarke today to tell us a bit more about the club and their aims.

Billericay RFC President Joe Clarke

Billericay RFC President Joe Clarke

In my introduction I managed to miss out the word “Rugby” Oh well we’re all human!

You can listen to our chat here –

You can find out more about Billericay RFC on their Pitcheroo website here

Members of Billericay RFC at Billericay Christmas Market last Sunday

Members of Billericay RFC at Billericay Christmas Market last Sunday

BRFC logo

Brentwood Theatre Christmas Show – Narnia

The Brentwood Theatre is putting on a production of a wonderful show for Christmas this year. Based on the C. S. Lewis family classic ‘The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe’ Narnia runs at the Brentwood Theatre up to the 30th December.

Today I was joined by the Director of Narnia – Ray Howes and assistant Director James Sinclair, along with Tianna Mullings to take a few photographs.

Ray Howes and James Sinclair

Ray Howes and James Sinclair

You can listen to our chat here –

Narnia runs at the Brentwood Theatre up to the 30th December.   Tickets are £15 Concessions Available and to book tickets you can call the Brentwood Theatre Box Office on 01277 200305


Help The Homeless in Brentwood and Billericay

It all started with a wheelie bin that appeared in Billericay Library yesterday.

Lori Mountford who runs a pop up shop in the Library selling charity Christmas cards posted a picture on The Billericay Discussion Page on Facebook of the sign on the bin that appealed for donations of rucksacks and other items that could help the homeless.

I looked into this further and found out that this is a genuine scheme.


Here’s how you can help.

Essex Youth Offending Team are teaming up with the social project ‘Cool to be Kind’ to put together rucksacks for the homeless!

Our young people will be sorting through the donations and putting the rucksacks together to donate to the project!

The project will be delivering the rucksacks throughout the winter to those who are on the streets homeless.

We have set up donation stations around libraries in Essex where you can ‘drop’ your donations in the labelled wheelie bins!

The donation stations will be in place for the next few weeks!

Donation stations:

Brentwood Library
Chelmsford Library
Billericay Library
Springfield Library
South Woodham Ferrers Library
Great Baddow Library

We are in desperate need of Rucksacks/Sleeping bags and flasks also in need of:

New Undies
Warm Tracksuit Bottoms
Bars of Soap
Toothbrush and Toothpaste (if you have a dentist visit scheduled you may want to ask them for some free samples and explain what they are for!)
Tins of food (with ring pulls)
Hats  Gloves  Scarves

For any larger donations or if you cannot get to one of these donation stations please email or phone on 07921 912509 for collection.

Billericay Christmas Market – In Pictures

Today saw the return of the amazing Billericay Christmas Market organised by the Billericay Mayflower Rotary Club in aid of charity. An estimated 20,000 plus people were in attendance and a splendid time was had by all!

Here are some pictures from the event taken by Bob Simpson. Can you spot yourself?

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The Billericay Christmas Market – Yvonne Kyndt

The Billericay Christmas Market has to be one of Billericay’s biggest community events, raising lots of lovely money for charity.

With around 20,000 people expected to attend this year, it all happens this Sunday 3rd December

Today I was very pleased to welcome Yvonne Kyndt from Billericay Mayflower Rotary Club to tell us all about it, especially as Yvonne came armed with mince pies!

Yvonne Kyndt

Yvonne Kyndt

You can listen to our chat here –

You can find out more by visiting the Billericay Christmas Market website here

Thanks for the mince pies Yvonne! Num num num.



Working With Phoenix FM – Oliver Harvey

Oliver joined us for work experience this week.

Oliver Harvey

Oliver Harvey

This is what he had to say about his experience –

Upon arriving I was apprehensive towards the substantial and fundamental aspects of what would be asked of me and the jobs I would have to do. I have had wide experience with part time jobs, but had never arranged/had any ‘work-experience’ let alone on a medium of media production. (The single aspect of work I have a particular affinity towards.) In contrary to my apprehension, I was coaxed straight into a chair, had a pair of headphones slapped to my ears, a coffee set down in front of me, and was put straight onto airtime. I needn’t have worried.


Every single person I came in contact with at the station was not only accommodating, but also eagerly proposed allocation of their perspectives, experiences and advice towards this particular medium of media, and other mediums they are experienced with, for that matter. In addition to this, my involvement/participation in the production of airtime and segments was encouraged and I was given independence towards this, which took me straight out of my comfort zone and helped me recognize individual strengths and weaknesses. Needless to say all of this has been extremely helpful in forming my own objectivity and attitudes towards Radio production as a career aspect and has provided a valuable insight towards media production


I would like to extend a sincere thanks and gratitude to everyone who has helped me this week, it has been great.

You can listen to some of Oliver’s on air highlights here –

Thanks Oliver. It was a pleasure to have you with us in the studio. Thanks for your help and good luck for the future.

Oliver with singer Sophie Griffiths. (Pic - Michelle Ward)

Oliver with singer Sophie Griffiths. (Pic – Michelle Ward)

Drinks and Links – Jill Willis

Brentwood has always had a strong creative and craft community. Well now there’s a new networking group in Brentwood – Creative Drinks and Links that should appeal to the creative community.
In to tell us all about it today was Billericay Marketing Consultant and Copywriter Jill Willis.

Jill Willis

Jill Willis

You can listen to our chat here –


It all happens at The Spread Eagle – Queen’s Road, Brentwood.
The 1st Wednesday of every month. (The next one is 1st November).
6pm-8pm.   £5 on the door gets entry, free drinks and nibbles.

To register to attend the next meeting on November 1st visit

Stay in touch via –

Instagram – drinksandlinks

Facebook – Drinks & Links

Here are some more photos taken during the interview by our work experience student this week, Oliver Harvey, Thanks Oliver!

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Jim Lea talks about Slade and Therapy.

Without doubt one of the most exciting bands to come out of Great Britain in the past 50 years were Slade.
With their unique blend of perfect pop-rock’n’roll, outrageous flamboyance and pure fun, and no less than 23 Top 20 singles of which 6 were No-1 hits….plus 6 smash albums, Slade have become a firm favourite in the hearts of pop fans all over the world.
Bass, keyboard and violin Player, songwriter and arranger with Slade, and now solo artist Jim Lea, is back with a re release on vinyl of his 2007 solo album Therapy and the single The Smile of Elvis.



You can listen to our chat here –


You can order the album Therapy direct from Jim’s website or from Amazon or iTunes.

Jim Lea’s website is here

Jim Lea

Jim Lea

Guide Dogs Coffee Morning – Brenda Weaver

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association nowadays known as Guide Dogs is a British charity founded in 1934

This week is Guide Dogs Week and people all over the UK are raising money to help ensure Guide Dogs can help as many blind and partially sighted people as possible.

Joining me today was one of those people doing a fantastic job fundraising,  Brenda Weaver who told us all about the Guide Dogs and their fundraising coffee morning in Shenfield tomorrow. (Details below)

Brenda Weaver

Brenda Weaver

Brenda also brought along a special friend Aero a working Guide Dog who was very well behaved throughout and greeted me with a very waggy tail and a kiss!



You can listen to our chat here –

Date: Thursday 12 October 2017
Time: 10:30 – 13:00
Event: Coffee Morning in aid of The Guide Dogs
Organised by: Guide Dogs
Location: Mount Avenue Banqueting Suite, Mount Avenue, Shenfield CM13 2NS map
Details: As well as the coffee there will be a raffle, Christmas cards, homemade jams and crafts and a chance to meet some puppies and adult guide dogs!
Cost: Free
Contact: Brenda Weaver 07753 482351


The Essex Community Tree Network – Andrew Woodcock

The Essex Community Tree Network is a group of key organisations working together to support people in our community with mental ill-health.
The group is designed to enable people to access more opportunities for mental well-being.
Joining me today was Andrew Woodcock from one branch the network, Brentwood Community Print.

Andrew Woodcock

Andrew Woodcock

The Essex Community Tree Network will be represented at Shenfield Library next Tuesday 10th October for World Mental Health Day.

You can listen to our chat here –

Follow Essex Community Tree Network on Twitter here

Brentwood Community Print’s website is here