All the members, supporters and listeners were saddened to hear of the death of our volunteer radio presenter Ally Gourlay who until recently presented Art School Dancing on Monday nights at 10pm. The programme would regularly run over by an hour as the messages and dedications came in from across the world and different time zones as the cult grew into a family and dedicated social media presence.
The concept had started in the 1980’s and moved stations several times from VRN 1287AM, Radio West Fife, Leith FM, Castle FM (Edinburgh) before settling with our newly launched k107 FM in Springtime of 2014. You can see how it all began here: https://youtu.be/PwBct2fL2m4 Once dubbed by a listener as ‘unlistenable rubbish’ Ally adopted the phrase to describe the fact that the programmes could feature obscurities like Capt. Beefheart then shift to the latest originals from Indie bands looking for their first airplay. For this aspect he was likened to the late John Peel, a description he saw as flattery and over the years his presenting style developed as such.
Some 22 months ago he was given just six months to live after a terminal cancer diagnosis but Ally chose to dismiss evasive surgery or radiography which may have only extended his life. Instead he lived his life to the full, still presenting radio and working at his day job as media officer at Raith Rovers FC. He still hosted events including the sell out annual football evenings at Adam Smith Theatre as part of the organising committee of Alistair Cameron, Allan Crow and Willie MacGregor and known as the Raith Rovers Hall Of Fame, a sell out show which attracted contributions from Bob Wilson, Graeme Souness, Joe Jordan and Harry Rednapp. In a surprise move he himself was inducted as a club legend. His contacts and knowledge of his local team was unsurpassed and forming the Former Players Association brought together the names from Raith from years gone past and reuniting in social occasions. His football know-how led him to write for fanzines and broadcasting with Scottish DAB station Rocksport.
He never slowed down and his attitude saw praise from all quarters. Ally looked up old friends for reunion socials on a weekly basis and these included members of the long forgotten 1960’s beat group the Idle Race and his all time hero Roy Wood. In his last few days, given just hours to live he checked out of hospital to visit his beloved Starks Park then drive around town just to say goodbye to friends and colleagues. His attitude during these last months astounded all who knew him and new friends were inspired to write on social media while his death made the national press.
Kirkcaldy Community Radio (www.k107.co.uk) will be playing some full shows from the Art School Dancing archive this week at 10pm and his last Hogmanay 100 (all time favourites) can be heard over three nights next week.