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Free newspaper for the blind marks 25th anniversary with special tea

PUBLISHED: 08:30 25 June 2016

Vaughan Shea presents awards to Ray Baker and Anne Frith at The Three Rivers talking newspaper's celebration tea marking 25 years of the service. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Vaughan Shea presents awards to Ray Baker and Anne Frith at The Three Rivers talking newspaper's celebration tea marking 25 years of the service. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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It is a vital service for the visually impaired.

And now the Three Rivers Talking Newspaper has marked 25 years of helping blind people enjoy their local newspaper.

For a quarter of a century, teams of volunteers have recorded themselves reading articles from the Beccles 
and Bungay Journal and delivered them to people with sight 
problems.

And a special strawberry tea was held at the weekend to mark the free service’s milestone, attended by about 60 volunteers and listeners past and present.

Chairman Vaughan Shea said: “It was nice to mark the occasion.

“It was just a big thankyou to everyone who has been involved and to look forward to the next 25 years!”

It was set up by Sound East, the talking newspaper for Lowestoft, which had been getting requests for news coverage of Beccles, Bungay, Loddon and Halesworth.

As a result, they organised meetings to help set up a new service for the area and a committee was formed in February 1991.

After much fundraising and hard work, the first audio cassettes containing the week’s local news were sent out to listeners on June 21, 1991.

Since then, teams of volunteers have continued to send out the 
news, which switched over to digital in 2009, and is now delivered on a USB stick.

And two of the service’s members were honoured with long service awards at the special tea.

Ray Baker was one of the first to read on the talking newspaper and Anne Frisk has represented listeners on the committee since it began.

“I find the talking newspaper absolutely brilliant,” she said. “And it’s very nice to be recognised.”

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