Tributes paid to 'inspiring' former University of Sunderland lecturer and radio boss Fred Marden
Tributes have been paid to an “inspiring” and “larger than life” former university lecturer and radio station boss after his death at the age of 55.
Fred Marden played a pivotal role in establishing Spark Sunderland, the University of Sunderland’s radio station, in 2009.
He was also the station’s manager and the university’s head of radio during his time on Wearside before leaving around five years ago.
His death was announced earlier this week by Radio Biscuit, a digital station serving Aldershot and Woking, where he was recently hosting shows.
Richard Berry, a senior lecturer in radio at the University of Sunderland, worked with Mr Marden and said: “It has come as a big shock. The last time I spoke to him was before Christmas and he seemed fine.”
He added: “He was the kind of person who everyone will remember.
"He was larger than life and would bound into the room.
"He had a big personality that people would connect to and the students found him very inspiring.
"He knew lots of things about lots of places and was always full of stories.
"Students would come out of the room buzzing, full of stories, anecdotes and advice, although not necessarily about what they expected to hear when they walked in.”
Mr Marden, who was believed to be living in Ireland at the time of his death, enjoyed a lengthy career in radio for stations such as County Sound, BBC Southern Counties and Eagle Radio.
As well as sharing his love of radio with Sunderland students, other roles in education included as head of the school of media at Farnborough College of Technology and as a visiting tutor at the City of Westminster College.
Former University of Sunderland students have also paid tribute to him on social media.
Ames Pywell wrote: "Really sad news.
"You'd find it difficult to find many more people as passionate about radio as Fred was. He was always throwing nuggets of advice at me when we passed in the corridors."
Rebecca Charlotte Broad added: "Such sad news. He was such an inspiration. You would see him walking over from the Media Centre and you knew your day was about to get better.”