MICKY GWILLIAM - 1947 - 2022

It is with deep sadness Riverside Radio announces the death of our dear friend and colleague Micky Gwilliam, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 75.  

Former soldier Micky was a hugely valued volunteer, he joined Wandsworth Radio in 2015. He was a major part of the Riverside Reports team with a dedicated interest in local news and politics. He loved presenting his Tuesday night show eclectica and was passionate about music and airing songs which would never be played anywhere else.

His in depth knowledge and love of South West London, particularly Battersea, his home, shone through in all his broadcasts.

Micky appeared in many of our Christmas Pantomimes, he trained new volunteers and always helped with our many outside broadcasts and events.

He won a number of our in house awards including twice in 2019 and 2020 for the person who's committed themselves fully and makes a special and valued contribution to Riverside Radio. During the Covid lockdown he kept the radio station on air by uploading pre recorded shows into our play-out systems while our studios were closed.

Last week he paid a wonderful tribute to Her Majesty the Queen during his final episode of Riverside Reports.

This Friday night from 6pm on Riverside Reports we will be paying tribute to a magnificent, gentle and kind, giant of a man.

Micky is a huge loss to Riverside Radio, his friends and family. He will not be forgotten.

His sisters Jane and Pippa have written a potted history of his life…..

Micky was born in Bournemouth on 4th January 1947, after his father, known to his friends as “Twink”,  had returned from military duty in Palestine. Twink was a career soldier rather than a wartime conscript, who served until he died, in uniform, in Malaysia aged only 48. The family’s next posting was to British-occupied post-war Germany, where his sister Jane was born, after which they returned to the UK.

When he was four Twink was posted to Kuala Lumpur in Malaya (as it was then known) where Micky’s second sister, Pippa, was born. In KL he attended the army school, and used to do the Boy Scouts Bob-a-Job week with his friend, Jock. The family had travelled out from Britain on the Empire Windrush, the famous ship that brought Jamaican immigrants to the UK on the promise of work. As was Micky’s wont, he would wander off to explore the ship and get lost, forgetting his route back to the right deck. Over the years his family would often lose him while visiting places such as the Science museum, where his thirst for knowledge took him off on a quest to find out more and more, and he’d lose all track of time.

When the family returned to the UK he was sent for a brief time to a boarding prep school in Devon, and then to Clifton College in Bristol where his brother Patrick was already a pupil, though they didn’t overlap for long because Pat was 5 years ahead of him. At school he excelled at mathematics and passed his GCE and A levels extremely young. He also rowed and played rugby, and was a self-taught guitarist and a talented singer who could stretch from falsetto to bass without his voice breaking. But he was shy, and it was rare that anyone could get him to sing, though it was well worth it when he did. This musicality was in the tradition of his grandfather, who was a singer, and his grandmother, a part-time concert pianist.

After school, he passed the civil service exam and followed his father and brother to The Royal Army Academy, Sandhurst, after which he became an officer in The Queens Own Buffs for a few weeks before it merged into the Queens Regiment. He served in several countries, and was decorated.  However, several tours during “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland had a bad effect on his health, both physical - particularly after a paving stone was dropped on his back from a footbridge - and emotionally.

Micky left the Army at 33 and worked at various jobs including a stint in the village pub where the family home was, and for the transport company, Addison Lee. He spent a while delivering post at night for a private firm in the City of London, and became a familiar figure to the City Police.


Micky’s health began to deteriorate further and he experienced several bouts of serious illness, three of which were near-death, including one during this year which had an lasting effect on his mobility.

Micky was erudite and clever, and became a member of the High IQ society Mensa. He never lost his love of learning, not least of all anything to do with IT. He knew so much through his reading, experimenting and trying things out. Anything he didn’t know he would make sure to find out.

He would do anything for anyone, was very active in Wandsworth in his local housing association, Safer Neighbourhood Team and various charitable enterprises, and was well known in the Borough.  

In his last years Riverside Radio became Micky’s passion. Broadcasting on Riverside he was able, among other enterprises, to share his dazzlingly broad taste in music in a programme he called Eclectica, where you might hear anything from classical, jazz or folk music through to Swedish Death Metal. He loved and valued his association with this award-winning community radio station, and it gave him enormous pleasure and pride to be associated with it.

MICKY GWILLIAM  -  1947 - 2022