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TV's Clare boosts talking newspaper

PUBLISHED: 18:49 30 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:24 14 July 2010

Clare Weller with talking newspaper production co-ordinator Tony Vale and sound engineer Niels Elffers.

Clare Weller with talking newspaper production co-ordinator Tony Vale and sound engineer Niels Elffers.

Wymondham and Attleborough Talking Newspaper was given a helping hand to produce the 500th edition of its audio news and information service.

The 50 volunteers produce a weekly hour-long news tape, a monthly audio magazine and a quarterly local news review programme, for almost 70 visually impaired listeners.

Wymondham and Attleborough Talking Newspaper was given a helping hand to produce the 500th edition of its audio news and information service.

The 50 volunteers produce a weekly hour-long news tape, a monthly audio magazine and a quarterly local news review programme, for almost 70 visually impaired listeners.

To celebrate the 500th edition, village listeners, volunteers and supporters were invited to a special recording in the Fairland Hall in Wymondham on Wednesday, which included Anglia Television presenter and newsreader, Clare Weller.

Ms Weller spoke to Hethersett community stalwart George Beckford, who was the winner in a 500-word essay competition launched by the Talking Newspaper, to mark the event.

She also spoke to Mercury associate editor Tim Warner about the paper's role in supplying most of the news material for the weekly bulletins.

Pat Crawford, chairman for the talking newspaper, 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 community.”

Through a combination of live interviews and extracts from the group's extensive sound archive, the audience in the hall and at home were treated to a sound tour of some popular 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.

Mrs Crawford added: “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 mayors of both Wymondham and Attleborough the Chairmen of South

Norfolk and Breckland Councils were also present to hear

the 500th edition being recorded. 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.

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