THE founder of Ealing Blues Festival has been honoured with a UK Blues Award for his work in promoting live music and Ealing’s music heritage.

Robert Salmons, who performs under the name Robert Hokum, received the Unsung Hero award from radio presenter Paul Jones at the PowerHaus Camden, this week.

Former singer Jones said: “He is a man who started the Ealing Blues Festival and co-founded the Ealing Blues Club Community Interest Company. He’s a tireless promoter of the West London blues scene.”

Accepting his award, guitarist Robert told the audience: “I don’t think the artistic elite in this country takes seriously enough the cultural contribution of British blues to world culture.”

He said Britain should learn from the US and how they link geography with cultural heritage.

“Detroit, Chicago, Nashville and Memphis all do this well and we need to do it here,” he added.

Robert Salmons was brought up in Hanwell and West Ealing.  After attending Ealing Grammar School, he went on to Twickenham College of Technology where he first became involved in music as social secretary of the Student Union.

In 1987, he started the Ealing Blues Festival as a free event in Walpole Park. It has grown to be one of the most established blues festivals in the UK and is now London’s longest-running.

The award was made on the same day as the launch of the book Rock's Diamond Year which features a chapter on his adolescence during Ealing's musical heyday,

He’ll be performing as Robert Hokum with the Asian band Blues Dharma at the Jubilee event in Walpole Park on June 5 and with The Great West Groove Big Band at the two-day Ealing Blues Festival on Sunday, July 24.