Winifred Collins, nee Sayer (Singer)
11 Widford Road
Winifred Sayer was born in 1897 and moved to Chelmsford in 1915 where she worked at the former Hoffman factory offices.
In January 1920, Winifred was a part of a local singing group called The Funions. It was this singing experience that led to Marconi engineers from the New Street Factory approaching her to lend her voice. They were looking for a singer to stand in for Dame Nellie Melba as they prepared to launch the Chelmsford wireless station in June 2020. Miss Sayer sang on three occasions to 214 receivers, and she earned 10 shillings for her work.
Following the broadcast, the managing director of Marconi presented her with a silver medal. The Marconi Company would go on to treat her as a VIP, to recognise her achievement of being the first paid singer on British radio.
After her brush with radio, Winifred married a chief of the Essex Special Constabulary and had two children. Mrs Collins lived at 11 Widford Road between 1967 and 1988 before moving to a residential home. She passed away in 1992 at the age of 95.