Sidmouth and Ottery to celebrate Talking Newspaper week

A BAND of 60 volunteers, who have been keeping Sidmouth s blind and visually impaired people up to date with local news for more than 20 years, will celebrate a week championing their charity from Sunday.

A BAND of 60 volunteers, who have been keeping Sidmouth's blind and visually impaired people up to date with local news for more than 20 years, will celebrate a week championing their charity from Sunday.

The Sid Vale and Eastern Devon Talking Newspaper has operated since 1987 when a blind Sidmouth resident set it up, and today the group provides more than 100 subscribers from across the region with recorded tapes featuring readings of the week's news.

A national Talking Newspaper Week begins on Sunday (September 13) and runs until next Saturday (September 19).

Sid Vale and East Devon Chairman David Raistrick, who has been involved in the project for seven years, hopes the next week will encourage residents to make use of the charity.


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He said: "We are one of the several hundred groups in the county which are all run by volunteers and provide a service which is completely free to listeners.

"It's interesting and rewarding and we often go out and meet our listeners and get phone calls saying how much they appreciate it."

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Editors look through copies of the Sidmouth, Ottery and Midweek Heralds as well as other regional titles to find the most interesting stories to fill an hour-long tape.

News is then recorded in Sidmouth's Manor Pavillion as teams of volunteers, each with an editor, producer, readers and people to clean, record and check tapes, then post them to visually impaired residents in Sidmouth, Ottery St Mary, Axminster, Seaton, Honiton and Lyme Regis.

The special wallets are delivered free by the Post Office , then returned to the charity for re-use the following week. The charity also produces a bi-monthly magazine.

Anybody interested in helping or subscribing to the Talking Newspaper can contact Mr Raistrick on (01395) 519183.

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