BBC radio presenter Andrew Peach and his wife Colleen lived in Benson for the first twelve years of their life together. They viewed a house in Peppard ten years ago which they did not buy but since that time were convinced they wanted to live in the village. So sure were they that Peppard was the right place for them that they sent their two children to a school in Henley where they could continue after a move to the village. The family moved to their present home in Peppard eighteen months ago and are very content here.
Andrew was brought up in Birmingham and had wanted to be in broadcasting since he was fourteen. At the age of sixteen he had a weekly programme on hospital radio and began work at BBC Radio Oxford while still at university there. He continued at Oxford Radio until 2004 having also began working as a radio presenter for Radio Berkshire in 1994. He is still with Berkshire Radio presenting his own show on weekdays from 7.00 to 10.00. He regularly presents World Briefing on the BBC World Service as well as presenting Radio Five Live and reading the news on Radio 2.
Before the arrival of Isaac aged six and Martha aged four Andrew and Colleen enjoyed travelling but are now content with more modest holidays. Andrew told me he loves being a dad and his job allows him more time than most with his family on weekdays although he is often working at weekends. The downside of the work is having to get up early but it is very clear that he loves his job. He has no wish to branch into television; as he explained to me as a presenter he is more in control than in television as he is pressing the buttons himself. He enjoys the immediacy of radio, whereas television is often recorded to be transmitted at a later date.
Asked about the worse moment in his career, after some thought, Andrew said it must have been in 1995, before he had a mobile phone ,when he got lost on the way to Newbury and had to start the programme from a payphone in Tesco with a queue waiting outside the phone box! He had no hesitation in recalling the most interesting conversation he has had on radio. Despite having interviewed many prominent people, Andrew described an interview with a young lady with Tourettes Syndrome in January last year. Despite the popular perception that those afflicted swear a lot she did not suffer much from this but was unable to control unconnected words being added into her speech. She insisted that nothing she said should be cut from the recording and it was clear to me that Andrew was very moved by her bravery and was pleased to have been able to help her explain Tourettes to the radio audience.
Andrew is the patron of two charities in Berkshire; Thames Hospicecare which runs hospices in Windsor and Ascot and WAMDSAD, a disabled sports charity in Maidenhead. He can play the violin and the piano and can juggle. He remembers all his grandfather taught him about gardening and expects to get back to doing more of it once the children are older but for the present prefers to spend time playing with them.
On my way home from talking to Andrew I felt I had just spent time with a very contented man whose family and job offer him all he wants in life.