THE sombre announcement on the radio that war had been declared on Germany was all too much for a seven-year-old.
“We were playing Monopoly, and I just wanted to get back to the game,” Gerry Attoe recalled, as she looked back on a life tuned into the world of the “wireless”.
The large, wooden set made by Roberts Radio, around which her family gathered that fateful day in September, 1939, was a far cry from today’s digital devices.
Gerry, who lives at Walnut Avenue, Rustington, no longer has the bulky receiver from her childhood days, but has remained loyal to the Roberts brand, listening every day on a 1950s model – “It crackles a bit, but when I move the aerial around it’s fine, and very reliable.”
And now her loyalty has been rewarded by Roberts which, like Gerry, continues to thrive after 80 years., with two royal warrants.
Stan Vandenberghe, 83, who is still working for Roberts after joining the firm in 1942, visited Owen Electrical in The Street, Rustington, last week, to present Gerry with a brand-new digital radio for her birthday.
“I wrote to Roberts after reading in the Daily Telegraph about Stan and their 80th anniversary, and got a nice letter back from the chief executive Leslie Burrage.”
The presentation at Owen Electrical was duly arranged, with Stan, who was for many years sales rep for the shop, doing the honours. He was accompanied by his successor, field sales manager Gerry Kehoe.
“I love the radio,” said Gerry. as she received her gift. “I wake up to it in the morning, and spend a lot of time listening through the day.
“We listened to it all through the war – there was nothing else. And, afterward, when Dick Barton (the detective serial) came on, everything stopped.”