FORMER Radio 1 DJ Andy Peebles – who first spun records when he was a catering student in Bournemouth – has spoken of his “wonderful years” with the station that turns 50 today.

The presenter, who recorded the last British interview with John Lennon, will tomorrow join a party for veterans of the network.

Andy told the Daily Echo he had enjoyed a “massive love affair” with Bournemouth since 1955.

He was studying hotel management at Bournemouth College when another former student of the college, Tony Blackburn, played the first record on Radio 1.

“By September 30, 1967, I had already arrived as a student and was listening to Radio 1 and Tony Blackburn,” he said.

“It was incredibly exciting and was also fascinating because of the fact that he came from Bournemouth. I remember thinking how wonderful that he came from Bournemouth and was making history by opening this new radio station.”

Andy himself was soon making a living as a DJ. “When I came to Bournemouth in 1967 to go to college, it was my intention to do a four-year higher national diploma in hotel management. I suppose in the back of my mind I had dreams of managing a hotel like the Carlton on the East Cliff, or better still the Savoy or the Dorchester in London.

“I then got side-tracked as a DJ.”

He played records at Samantha's in Poole Hill and left college after one year to focus on DJing.

He began his broadcasting career in Manchester and joined Radio 1 in 1978, interviewing Sir Paul McCartney multiple times, Sir Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. He also deputised as presenter of the Top 40 show at a time when it commanded almost 25million listeners.

In December 1980, he flew to New York for what became a lengthy interview with John Lennon. Returning to Heathrow Airport, he learned the star had been murdered.

“I had met a guy I had quite literally idolised since I was 12. I’ve got a feeling my friend drove me down the back of Westover Road when the Beatles were playing the Gaumont,” Andy said.

“I never thought I’d meet Lennon. He was always my favourite Beatle. To meet him was something of a dream. What happened less than 48 hours later was a complete and total nightmare."

His career at Radio One was ended by controller Johnny Beerling in 1992, shortly before the cull of veterans such as Simon Bates and Dave Lee Travis.

Andy said: "He said 'You’ve done 13 years, I can’t thank you enough, but I can’t lie to you, we’re not going to be able to find a slot in the new schedule that we’re planning at the moment'. I can’t think of a more amicable parting."

Although the audiences are much smaller today, Andy said: “Radio 1 today is doing a great job.”