Forty years of bringing the news to visually impaired people in Bexhill

Volunteers who maintain a weekly recorded news and magazine service for Bexhillians with visual handicap have their secretary to thank for a truly memorable 40th anniversary celebration.

25/10/13- Bexhill Talking Newspaper.  Cliff Howe ENGSUS00120131025144436
25/10/13- Bexhill Talking Newspaper. Cliff Howe ENGSUS00120131025144436

Bexhill Talking Newspaper Association sent out its first recording in February 1977.

The charity had been founded following a public meeting held by Bexhill Lions Club at the De La Warr Pavilion the previous September.

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The registered charity has had a variety of “homes” since then, its current studio being off London Road.

The talking newspaper movement in the UK was founded on the back of cassette tape technology which made it possible to record and bulk-copy material in convenient form.

In recent years it has modernised and Bexhill Talking Newspaper is now recorded and bulk-copied digitally.

Listeners are issued with digital players (known as “boom boxes”) and receive each week’s readings from the Bexhill Observer plus their magazine material on plug-in memory sticks.

The 40th anniversary celebrations began with a cake-cutting ceremony at the annual meeting in May.

Last Saturday, volunteers gathered at the home of association secretary Barry Edwards and his wife Cynthia for a celebratory barbecue.

Right on cue, Saturday’s downpour began as the first guests arrived.

But Barry and Cynthia are seasoned campaigners. Not only had they made comprehensive preparations for the meal but the tables had been laid out in a large marquee in which everyone promptly took cover.

Everyone that is except Barry who stoically donned an anorak and cooked a truly delightful meal at the gas barbecue in the midst of the downpour.

There was loud applause when Christine Madeley, a committee member and trustee who maintains the rota of volunteers who read the news each week, proposed a vote of thanks to Cynthia and Barry.

Bexhill Talking Newspaper needs new volunteers to act as coordinators, ensuring that the memory sticks go each week to those who need them. Anyone with time to spare for the charity is asked to contact volunteers coordinator Ron Brazier on 0424 844177.