Festival goer calls for Glastonbury’s John Peel Stage to be renamed over historical sex abuse claims


Festival goer, 26, calls for Glastonbury’s John Peel Stage to be renamed over historical sexual abuse claims against the late BBC Radio One DJ

  • Jack Owens said the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury is ‘long overdue’ a change 
  • In 2012, a woman called claimed Jane Nevin she became pregnant by Peel during a three-month affair when she was a 15-year-old schoolgirl in 1969
  • Mr Owens is calling on the festival to change the name in light of Peel’s own comments on sexual contact with ‘an awful lot’ of underage girls

A festival-goer is calling for Glastonbury’s John Peel Stage to be renamed over historical sexual abuse claims against the late BBC Radio One DJ, calling it a ‘slap in the face’ for victims. 

Jack Owens, 26, said the stage is ‘long overdue’ a change and is petitioning organisers to remove the former BBC presenter’s name from the tent ahead of next year’s festival.

His petition comes after a woman, Jane Nevin, claimed in 2012 she became pregnant by Peel during a three-month affair when she was a 15-year-old schoolgirl in 1969. 

Glastonbury’s New Bands Tent took its new name in 2004, the year that Peel died of a heart attack, in honour of the DJ’s work. 

A festival-goer has created a petition to have the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury renamed. Pictured, John Peel receiving an OBE in 1998

A festival-goer has created a petition to have the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury renamed. Pictured, John Peel receiving an OBE in 1998

Mr Owens said the stage's name is a 'slap in the face' for victims. Pictured, the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury Festival in 2015

Mr Owens said the stage’s name is a ‘slap in the face’ for victims. Pictured, the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury Festival in 2015

Peel, who died of a heart attack in 2004, is alleged to have met Nevin at a Black Sabbath concert when he was 30.

She claims he had sex with her in the BBC studio and backstage at concerts.

In an interview with The Sunday Correspondent in 1989, Peel said: ‘Girls used to queue up outside. By and large not usually for sh*****g.

‘Oral sex they were particularly keen on, I remember. […] One of my, er, regular customers, as it were, turned out to be 13, though she looked older..’

There are historical sexual abuse claims against the former BBC Radio 1 DJ. Pictured at work

There are historical sexual abuse claims against the former BBC Radio 1 DJ. Pictured at work

Fifteen of radio's best-known disc jockeys eating Christmas Lunch at the Broadcasting House. Back, from left: Simon Bates, Mike Read, Peter Powell, Tommy Vance, Adrian Love and Richard Skinner. Middle, from left: Paul Burnett, Andy Peebles, John Peel, Steve Wright, Annie Nightingale, Paul Gambaccini, and Adrian Juste. Front, from left, Dave Lee Travis and Jimmy Saville

Fifteen of radio’s best-known disc jockeys eating Christmas Lunch at the Broadcasting House. Back, from left: Simon Bates, Mike Read, Peter Powell, Tommy Vance, Adrian Love and Richard Skinner. Middle, from left: Paul Burnett, Andy Peebles, John Peel, Steve Wright, Annie Nightingale, Paul Gambaccini, and Adrian Juste. Front, from left, Dave Lee Travis and Jimmy Saville

Peel presented much of the BBC's TV coverage of Glastonbury Festival. Pictured in 1999 at the festival

Peel presented much of the BBC’s TV coverage of Glastonbury Festival. Pictured in 1999 at the festival

Who was broadcasting legend John Peel?  

John Peel was a famed rock DJ for the BBC

John Peel was a famed rock DJ for the BBC

John Peel, born John Robert Parker Ravenscroft, was a popular British DJ.

Born on August 30, 1939, in Heswall, he was known for promoting rock music on the BBC’s radio stations, among other platforms.

In 1965, he married his first wife, Shirley Anne Milburn, when she was 15. They wed in Texas, US, where the ceremony was legal. 

Two years later, he joined BBC Radio 1 when the station started, building a career in discovering emerging artists. 

He and Shirley separated soon after, divorcing in 1973, before she killed herself.

Peel married his second wife, Sheila Gilhooly, in 1974, later having two boys and two girls. 

During his musical career, the DJ was seen as someone who could help artists break into the industry, and was posted records, CDs and tapes. 

He also created the John Peel Sessions, where house bands recorded exclusive tracks for the broadcaster. 

Outside of Radio 1, he also broadcast on stations in the Netherlands, Finland, Austria and Germany. 

He occasionally presented Top of the Pops on BBC1 between the late 1960s until the 1990s, appearing more regularly between 1982 and 1987.

He also presented the BBC’s TV coverage of Glastonbury Festival.

In 1998, he was given an OBE for his work in the music industry.  

He died from a heart attack in 2004 aged 65. 

The same year, Glastonbury renamed the New Bands Tent after Peel, in honour of the DJ.

In his autobiography, which was published after his death, Peel said that he was raped by an older pupil when he was a boarder at Shrewsbury School.

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An interview originally published in The Herald in April 2004 stated that Peel admitted to sexual contact with ‘an awful lot’ of underage girls.

In an interview with The Guardian in 1975 while discussing women, Peel said: ‘All they wanted me to do was abuse them, sexually, which, of course, I was only too happy to do’.

Mr Owens, from Manchester, is now hoping that Glastonbury organisers will re-brand their Peel tent in light of the comments and historical accusations.

His petition read: ‘The John Peel stage at Glastonbury is long overdue being renamed, considering the serious sexual abuse he has been accused of and even admitted, against women and children.

‘It’s a slap in the face to sexual abuse survivors, women, children and decent people to have to stand in a stage with his name on it, which has the sick words “teenage dreams so hard to beat” written on the side.

‘Please rename it for the next year’s festival. He’s been put up on pedestal for too long.’

Peel, born John Robert Parker Ravenscroft, worked as a DJ for the BBC from 1967 till 2004 when he died of a sudden heart attack while in Peru.

In 1965, Peel married a 15-year-old American girl called Shirley Anne Milburn when he was 26.

He later claimed she and her family had lied about her age.

They divorced in 1973 and years later she reportedly took her own life.

In 2012, eight years after Peel’s death, Nevin came forward with claims of an affair with the highly respected DJ.

She said the affair resulted in her falling pregnant and having a ‘traumatic’ abortion in Ealing.

A postcard, allegedly sent to Nevin from Peel after she contacted him about their relationship 30 years later, read: ‘Jane, Well, you’ve scared the daylights out of me. For years I’ve been expecting a letter starting, ‘In the 70s we had a brief affair – and your now son/daughter, aged 27, wants to meet you’.

‘What exactly do you want me to do. I live near Ipswich so Croydon is pretty inaccessible.

‘I’ll wait to hear from you again. John.’

Mr Owen set the Change.org page up on Friday, where it has so far gained around 150 signatures, however he is hoping to hit 150,000.

Speaking today, he said: ‘I knew about John Peel’s sexual abuse allegations and admissions after researching him once, about six months prior.

‘It was when I was in the tent for the first time the recollection of it hit me, and I felt really uneasy about it.

‘I’ve been tweeting Glastonbury and Emily Eavis, the director, daily. I’ve also sent emails to the festival itself, through their various emails.

‘I’ve had no contact from the festival.

'I've been tweeting Glastonbury and Emily Eavis, the director, daily. I've also sent emails to the festival itself, through their various emails,' Mr Owen said

‘I’ve been tweeting Glastonbury and Emily Eavis, the director, daily. I’ve also sent emails to the festival itself, through their various emails,’ Mr Owen said

Mr Owens, 26, said the stage is 'long overdue' a change and is hoping organisers will remove the former BBC presenter's name from the tent. Pictured, inside the John Peel Tent at Glastonbury 2022

Mr Owens, 26, said the stage is ‘long overdue’ a change and is hoping organisers will remove the former BBC presenter’s name from the tent. Pictured, inside the John Peel Tent at Glastonbury 2022

‘I’m going to keep spreading the word until we hit 150,000 because I think it’s the right thing to do.’

The petition has received a mixed reaction from music fans.

One person wrote: ‘He doesn’t deserve to be remembered.’

Another said: ‘This is abominable. This man is disgusting and does not deserve to be lauded with an important stage named after him.’

A third commented: ‘Accused not found guilty.’

While another person said: ‘What? Never heard of that, and I’m certainly not going to sign anything that looks like C**P.’ 

MailOnline has contacted Glastonbury Festival for comment.

My three-month affair with John Peel when I was 15: Woman claims she had sex with DJ while under age 

ByLouise Eccles for the Daily Mail

A woman has claimed she may have become pregnant by DJ John Peel during a three-month affair when she was a 15-year-old schoolgirl.

The BBC star presenter met Jane Nevin backstage at a Black Sabbath concert in the summer of 1969.

Mrs Nevin says she was ‘in awe’ of the Radio 1 DJ, then 30, and that they would go to his London BBC studio or backstage at concerts to make love.

Peel had unprotected sex with the teenager shortly after boasting on-air that he had been suffering from a venereal disease.

They split up when her mother found out about the relationship. But she discovered she was pregnant shortly after, aged 16, and had a ‘traumatic’ abortion at a clinic in Ealing.

‘I was devastated when I found out I was pregnant,’ she said. ‘I didn’t even think about telling John. I just wanted it to be over.’

Younger days: Jane Nevin (aged 17) says she was 'in awe' of Radio 1 DJ John Peel, then 30, and that they would go to his London BBC studio or backstage at concerts to have sex

Younger days: Jane Nevin (aged 17) says she was ‘in awe’ of Radio 1 DJ John Peel, then 30, and that they would go to his London BBC studio or backstage at concerts to have sex

When Mrs Nevin wrote to Peel out of the blue 30 years later mentioning their ‘brief affair’, he replied expressing his relief that she was not writing to confess she had his secret child.

On a postcard sealed in an envelope, Peel, who died in 2004, wrote: ‘Well, you’ve scared the daylights out of me. For years I’ve been expecting a letter starting, “In the 70s we had a brief affair – and your now son/daughter, aged 27, wants to meet you”.’

Mrs Nevin, 59, who lives in Capel, Surrey, decided to break her silence after allegations emerged that fellow BBC DJs abused dozens of teenage girls during this period.

She said: ‘He [Peel] must have known I was still at school. But he didn’t ask and I didn’t tell him.

‘At the time I was just so happy to be on his arm. I was young and he was famous. All I cared about was that I could make all my school friends jealous.

‘I was insecure and impressionable. I suppose I used him for his fame and he used me for sex.’

It echoes Peel’s own admission that he received sexual favours from young fans, once quipping: ‘Well, of course, I didn’t ask for ID.’

The DJ ran a Schoolgirl Of The Year competition on his long-running late-night Radio 1 Show and once complained that American virgins ‘would do anything but s*** you’. 

Peel had unprotected sex with the teenager shortly after boasting on-air that he had been suffering from a venereal disease. Pictured, Peel in 1967

Peel had unprotected sex with the teenager shortly after boasting on-air that he had been suffering from a venereal disease. Pictured, Peel in 1967

Mrs Nevin met Peel when she was invited backstage at a Black Sabbath concert in central London. She was hoping to meet the band, including Ozzy Osbourne, but instead caught the eye of Peel.

She said: ‘He came over and started talking to me. I was totally in awe of John. I adored his long hair and beard and he talked so intensely about music.

‘After that night, we would meet up about once a week. If we had sex, we never went to his place.

‘It would always be in his studio or backstage at the Roundhouse in Camden.

‘I loved the status of knocking around with him. He would invite me to gigs and I would follow him around like a lapdog. I don’t know if sex was expected but I went along with it willingly. Looking back, it was terribly wrong and I was perhaps manipulated. But it was a different era.’

She admits it was a difficult period in her life. ‘I was badly bullied at school for being posh. I went to private school in South London until I was 11, but when my father died, my mother couldn’t afford to keep me there so I went to the local comprehensive in Wandsworth.

‘I did horse riding and dance classes at Italia Conti. I didn’t fit in. As a result, I was desperate to be loved.’

At the time, Peel was separated from Shirley Anne Milburn, who he had married in 1965 in America when she was only 15. He later claimed she had lied about her age.

When Mrs Nevin’s mother, an antiques restorer, found out her daughter was dating the DJ, she was horrified.

‘One night he called the house and my mother gave him hell,’ said Mrs Nevin. ‘She knew he had spoken about having VD because it had been in the papers. That put an end to us seeing each other.’

Later, a test confirmed she was pregnant. ‘My mother was very upset. She was worried I had ruined my life. My auntie had to lend her the money and I went to a clinic in Ealing. It was probably the worst day of my life.’

Mrs Nevin went on to become a bunny girl croupier at the Playboy club in Park Lane in the 1970s. She later ran a pub with her husband, from whom she is separated, and had a son.

Peel divorced his teenage Texan bride Shirley in 1973 and married Sheila Gilhooly a year later. They had four children and lived in Great Finborough, Suffolk.

It was from this address that he wrote the letter to Mrs Nevin in the late 1990s, after she asked him to appear at the opening of her new bar in Surrey.

He rebuffed her invite, ending the postcard: ‘I live near Ipswich so Croydon is pretty inaccessible. I’ll wait to hear from you again, John.’  

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