Talking newspaper marks 500th edition

PUBLISHED: 10:14 17 January 2008 | UPDATED: 09:55 03 June 2010

Wymondham & Attleborough Talking Newspaper will have some professional help when they produce the 500th edition of their audio news and information service next week.

Wymondham & Attleborough Talking Newspaper will have some professional help when they produce the 500th edition of their audio news and information service next week.

Anglia Television presenter and newsreader, Clare Weller, is to host part of the milestone edition, which will be recorded in front of an audience of listeners, volunteers and supporters at the Fairland Hall in Wymondham. The mayors of both Wymondham and Attleborough the chairmen of South Norfolk and Breckland Councils will also be present.

Ms Weller will conduct a Parkinson-style interview with Mercury associate editor, Tim Warner, about the future of local newspapers. She will also meet Hethersett community stalwart George Beckford, who was the winner in a 500-word essay competition launched by the Talking Newspaper, to mark the event.

Through a combination of live interviews and extracts from the group's unique and extensive sound archive, the audience in the hall and at home will be treated to a sound tour of some popular local events, including Wymondham's Dickensian evening and Attleborough's Christmas Lights celebrations.

Other events captured on tape include the day on which passenger services were restored on the Mid-Norfolk Railway and when hundreds of people were invited to “hug the Abbey” at the launch of the 900th anniversary celebrations.

The idea of a Talking Newspaper for the two towns was initiated by Wymondham Lions Club in September 1997. After a public meeting, a major fundraising drive was carried out to purchase the necessary equipment. The first edition was produced from the Abbey School Room in Wymondham and the recording operation was transferred to the Damgate Rooms a year later.

The recent sale of the building has necessitated another studio move for the group, which has fifty volunteers. Together they produce a weekly hour-long news tape, a monthly audio magazine and a quarterly local news review programme, for almost seventy visually impaired listeners.

The group also records audio versions of the Norwich Diocese monthly magazine, the quarterly tenants' magazine produced by Saffron Housing Trust and audio book reviews for the Norfolk Library service.

Changing technology and the likely demise of the audio cassette means that the organisation will soon have to switch to a digital recording system and plans are already in progress for this to take place.

WATN chairman, Pat Crawford said: “It is amazing what our dedicated team of volunteers have been able to achieve over the last ten years but it would not have been possible without the support we have received from the local community.”

The Talking Newspaper service is free to the listener and further details are available from the WATN secretary on 01953 605434.

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