Talking newspaper celebrate their 30th birthdays
WITH a message of best wishes from former volunteer Lorraine Kelly ringing in their ears the people of East Kilbride Talking Newspaper Association staged a party this month to mark their 30th anniversary.
It took place in the Murray Owen Centre where committee members and volunteers were joined by some of their many listeners to cut a cake.
For the group, which was set up in 1981 to bring the news from the News to blind and partially-sighted people in the area every week, are in the process of changing over from cassette tapes to new digital technology.
They are currently preparing to record the News onto USB memory sticks and, where necessary, they can provide their listeners with the boom box machinery they require free of charge to make this possible.
At the celebrations, the chairman Lindsay Forsyth thanked those volunteers past and present for the valuable contributions.
He also brought greetings from well known former contributors, including Doctor Henry Doig and queen of daytime television Lorraine Kelly, a former trainee reporter with the East Kilbride News who was also one of the early-year volunteers on the Talking Newspaper.
During the afternoon, six members of the committee chairman Lindsay Forsyth, secretary Maureen Curtin, treasurer, Gordon Smith, public relations officer David Will and committee members Beth Iggo and Theresa Will performed a short play for those present.
There was also an opportunity for guests to see and hear about the new technology which will shortly be introduced and to enjoy a chat over the buffet lunch provided. There were also various fundraising raffles.
The committee also includes Sophia Forsyth, former chairman and longest serving volunteer with the charity, technician Ross Macfadyen, and committee members Ann Mackie, Edith Anderson and Ann Ellis.
EK Talking Newspaper have been producing the News for blind and partially-sighted people in the area since September 18, 1981.
They were set up by a group of volunteers, including Maureens late father Arthur Curtin, who saw the need for the service and, at their height, they provided tapes to around 400 listeners each week.
At first they met in private homes. They were then allowed use of a room in the attic at the former hobby centre, now the New Farm Pub, in the town and then at a couple of other venues before moving in East Kilbride Arts Centre in 1995, where they remain.
In addition to recording the News each week a job which takes about six hours for a team of volunteers to complete they also produce the Scottish Farmer for listeners who come from throughout Scotland.
Their volunteers record the Scottish Farmer on Monday mornings and the News on Thursday evenings, with the tapes being posted out weekly to listeners.
The group are completely dependent on donations and their own fundraising efforts to keep going.
They also always need new volunteers, for, as well as reading the news onto the tapes, these have to be cleaned and readied for re-recording.
There is also various other tasks involved such as keeping their list of clients updates, posting and packing.
Anyone willing to donate cash or time would be made very welcome and should telephone either Sophie or Lindsay on 01355 525254 or Dave on 01355 264534.
They are also happy to take the names and details of anyone who would like to receive the News tapes. The service is provided completely free.
Lindsay added: Sometimes people dont want to come forward because they feel vulnerable but we can guarantee their details are safe and are never disclosed to anyone else.
We only need enough information to be able to contact them and be able to get the tape to them.
Anyone who could benefit from the tape should give us a call, even if it is just for some information.