Recalling 40 years of local news for BBC Radio Derby

BBC Radio Derby is celebrating 40 years of broadcasting local news and programmes.

The station went on air earlier than planned in 1971 to cover the "Rolls-Royce crash" as the receivers were called in to the then flailing company.

However, the studios on St Helen's Street were not quite finished, so the material had to be taken to Sutton Coldfield and broadcast using makeshift equipment set up near the foot of the station's main transmitter.

The story was the first to be featured on Radio Derby - but during the past four decades there have been many other major, local reports covered by the station.

Some of those were a celebration of the area's finest hours, while others conveyed the news during darker times.

Derby County - football league champions

In the 1971-72 season, Brian Clough and Peter Taylor led the Rams to football glory.

Derby had a great start to the season, remaining unbeaten until the middle of October, and found themselves in contention for the title.

But as the season drew on, the race became tighter.

In their final game of the season, Derby County beat Liverpool 1-0 at the Baseball Ground.

However, at that point their fate was out of their hands. Both Leeds and Liverpool were capable of taking the title as they each had a game to play.

In the end, results went in favour of the Rams - and it was left to a newspaper reporter to break the news to Peter Taylor while on a trip to Majorca with the players.

Meanwhile, Brian Clough, on holiday in the Scilly Isles, was told that Derby County were champions in a phone call live on BBC Radio Derby. He said: "There's nothing I can say about it. There's nothing better.

"No [champagne] - I'm putting my children to bed and I'm going to hold hands with my wife."

Becoming a city

On 28 July 1977, the Queen visited Derby to hand over the Letters Patent and give "this ancient and distinguished town" city status.

More than 30,000 people crowded onto the Market Place and Corporation Street to witness the event.

After making a speech on the steps of the Council House, the Queen took a walkabout with mayor Jeffery Tillett.

And in that same jubilee year, Derby was also visited by the Queen Mother.

The occasion that time was to officially open the new Assembly Rooms in Derby's Market Place.

Britannia Park

Britannia Park, a 390-acre site in Shipley, opened in 1985.

It was meant to be a celebration of all things British along with a theme park, water sports arena and exhibition hall.

However, the promised royal opening never came - and neither did the anticipated huge numbers of visitors.

The park's facilities were incomplete on opening day and a large area was still under construction.

The big dream collapsed within a couple of months with the parent company, KLF, in debt to the tune of almost £9.5m.

A major fraud investigation began which, three years later, resulted in a 14-month trial. KLF's Peter Kellard was sentenced to four years imprisonment and the chairman of Britannia Park Ltd, John Wright, to six months.

The miners' strike of 1984-85

In 1984, miners in Derbyshire, along with their colleagues throughout the UK, became involved in a year-long struggle over pit closures.

Picket lines swelled and tensions grew as police, pickets and miners clashed.

Many communities quickly became divided over the issue.

There are still examples in the county of brothers who no longer talk to each other because of choices they made during the protests.

In the end, 20 pits were closed and 200,000 jobs were lost.

APT - the tilting train

The Advanced Passenger Train was billed as the "Concorde of the railway".

Developed and built in Derby in the 1970s, the APT started life as an experimental, high speed train capable of travelling at a maximum of 155 mph.

The train was designed to tilt as it went round bends, eliminating the unpleasant outward forces felt by high-speed passengers.

The APT was unveiled in 1981 and made its first public run on 7 December, but because of problems with the tilt mechanism, and other factors, it was withdrawn from service after only four days.

The service was re-introduced a few years later but again its use was relatively short-lived.

Kegworth air crash

On Sunday 8 January 1989, a British Midland Boeing 737 flying from London to Belfast suffered engine problems and attempted to make an emergency landing at East Midlands Airport.

Despite the best efforts of the pilot, the plane fell short of the runway and crashed onto the M1, coming to rest on the embankment.

That night, 47 people lost their lives. Miraculously, 74 passengers and crew survived and no-one travelling on the motorway was hurt.

Radio Derby's Rosemary Coxford (now Rosemary Harding) was the first radio reporter on the scene.

Recalling the tragedy, she said: "I remember getting a call to head out to the airport - I had no idea how big a disaster it was.

"I think the thing that was so poignant is that the plane was so close to landing.

"It was literally almost there - the pilot had obviously tried so hard to land the plane at the airport and they just didn't quite make it.

"It was probably the biggest national and international story we ever had to cover and everybody just swung into action that night."

Toyota arrives

In 1989, after months of negotiations (largely driven by the then leader of Derbyshire County Council, David Bookbinder) Toyota announced it would build its UK base at Burnaston, just outside Derby.

The decision was a huge and welcome boost for jobs, the economy and local pride.

Toyota decided to manufacture its Carina E at the plant and the first car rolled off the production line on 16 December 1992.

About 3,000 people are employed at the Burnaston factory.

Carsington Water opens

Carsington Water is the UK's ninth largest reservoir and took almost three decades of planning and building.

The project also had some serious setbacks.

In 1981 four workers died due to oxygen starvation in a drainage chamber and in 1984 the dam collapsed and had to be be totally rebuilt.

The reservoir was completed in 1991 and opened by the Queen the following year.

These days, Carsington Water attracts about 1.5m visitors each year and supports more than 200 species of bird as well as a huge and diverse plant, mammal and insect population.

Pride Park Stadium opens

More than 30,000 people witnessed Pride Park Stadium's royal opening on 18 July 1997 - the first time the Queen had opened a new football stadium.

Until then, Derby County's home games had been played at the Baseball Ground and the move to Pride Park was driven by the club's four directors, Lionel Pickering, Peter Gadsby, Stuart Webb and John Kirkland.

Jim Smith was Derby County's manager at the time.

The stadium's first competitive fixture, against Wimbledon, had to be abandoned after generator problems caused the floodlights to fail eleven minutes into the second half with the Rams leading 2-1.

The National Memorial Arboretum

Situated a few miles south of Burton on Trent and close to the village of Alrewas, the National Memorial Arboretum is a site of remembrance.

At least 50,000 trees have already been planted there.

It contains more than 150 memorials and plots for the armed forces, as well as civilian organisations and voluntary bodies who have played a part in serving the country.

The arboretum opened officially on 16 May 2001 and was dedicated by the Archbishop of Canterbury in October 2007.

Brian Clough dies

Brian Clough was sometimes referred to as "the best manager England never had".

His presence was strongly felt in the East Midlands after he took Derby County to the pinnacle of English football as champions in 1972.

He also won back-to-back European Cups with Nottingham Forest.

Often controversial and always outspoken, Clough was even approached by the Labour Party to stand as a parliamentary candidate.

But football was his life. He played for Middlesbrough and Sunderland and also managed Hartlepool, Derby County, Brighton and Hove Albion and Leeds United.

Brian Clough died at the age of 69 on 20 September 2004.

A month later, a memorial service was held at Pride Park Stadium - 14,000 Rams and Forest fans attended.

The following year, the A52 between Derby and Nottingham was renamed in his honour.

Burton Albion promoted

On 26 April 2009, Burton Albion ceased to be a non-league side and were promoted to the Football League Division 2.

Surprisingly, on that day, the Brewers lost 2-1 to Torquay United but other results going their way meant that, by the time the final whistle was blown, the side already knew its fate.

At one point in the season, Burton Albion were 21 points ahead of their nearest rivals - but a run of poor results meant their lead dwindled to almost nothing.

The final scores on the last day of the season meant the Brewers beat Cambridge United to the title by only two points.

More on this story