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Scottish chaplain honoured for prison DJ skills during lockdowns

DJ Jolly Jilly.jpeg - Banner image
Church of Scotland

A minister has been honoured for her excellent DJ skills after taking to the airwaves to brighten spirits inside Scotland’s largest prison.

Rev Jill Clancy, facilitator of HMP Barlinnie's multi-faith chaplaincy team, was the only person providing full-time pastoral care to prisoners at the time, but still managed to make space for her widely-loved radio show.

She has been given the Meritorious Award by the Scottish Prison Service, in recognition of her efforts. 

The aptly-named Barbed Wireless radio station at HMP Barlinnie, in Glasgow, is usually run by inmates. However, due to the risk of infection during the early months of the pandemic, DJ Jolly Jilly  recorded, edited and broadcast an hour long programme, consisting of music, quizzes and Thought for the Day, twice a week.

Rev Clancy, who has worked at HMP Barlinnie for five years, said: "Being recognised for my contribution was a big surprise, I was gobsmacked to be honest and couldn't quite believe it.

"It was a difficult, uncertain and unknown time for all the prisoners, management and staff at HMP Barlinnie and I did all that I could to help keep people's spirits up.

"The prison has a radio station called Barbed Wireless run by the prisoners but it was off air during the first lockdown because none of them were allowed out of their cells.

"So I styled myself DJ Jolly Jilly and twice a week I recorded, edited and broadcast an hour long radio programme.

"It was so much fun and I am thrilled that being a presence in the prison helped just a little for all of us to get through a difficult time."

She continued: "It is a privilege to work at HMP Barlinnie but I could not do the job that I do without the support of the rest of the staff and management who showed great commitment and courage during the lockdown.

"None of us would have survived without the great Glasgow banter which gave us a laugh and the positivity that we needed.

"I might have been presented with this award but it was a team effort to keep things going during a huge period of uncertainty."

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