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Recent EaRTN News

Some recent events involving the Elmbridge and Runnymede Talking Newspaper include:

October 2014 - Long Serving Volunteers Retire

Two volunteers who have given more than a combined half century to the Elmbridge and Runnymede Talking Newspaper have stood down from the charity:

Peter Watts joined the Talking News, which provides recorded local news for blind and visually impaired of the two boroughs, in 1976. Peter, a keen Rotarian, began by copying the recordings – then onto cassettes, but now onto memory sticks – for sending out to listeners. He also read articles in the weekly digest of local news, and when the magazine edition was set up as a separate monthly recording in 1997 he became a regular reader for those recordings and joined the sub-committee producing the magazine. In addition, when the Talking Newspaper was approached to produce recordings of the WRNS Association Newsletter, Peter undertook the task. In 2001 he received an award from the Talking Newspaper Association of the UK to mark his 25 years’ service. Now after 38 years, Peter has decided to stand down. Penny O’Sulllivan, who has worked with him for some years said “I shall really miss him – he’s a real gentleman and I shall certainly miss his contribution to the team”.
Edna Blowers, who joined the volunteers 15 years ago, has left after leading the Talking Newspaper’s registration team, looking after listeners’ records. She also worked as an editor, helping to select the local news stories for the recordings.

September 2014 - Awards Received

On 15th September representatives of  Elmbridge and Runnymede Talking Newspaper were delighted to attend the Runnymede Achievement Awards Evening organised by Runnymede Access Liaison Group.
The awards were introduced by Chairman, Jonathan Fisher, who is blind and has a guide dog and the evening was well attended by disabled and able bodied representatives of the many organisations offering services and advice to disabled people in the area.

The Charles Babbage Memorial Rosebowl for individual achievement by a disabled person was awarded to Christopher Gilroy, who first joined the Talking Newspaper as Listener Representative in 1999 and was Chairman elected by acclamation at the Annual General Meeting in 2007.  

The Frank Wheeler Memorial Rosebowl was awarded to Mrs. Edna Blowers, who has stood down as a volunteer with the Talking Newspaper after 15 years, during which time she selected articles from the local papers for the weekly digest and took over the leadership of the Registration team which checks and records the returned pouches from listeners.

The Bob Davies Award for achievement by a Group or service in serving the needs of Disabled People was presented to Elmbridge and Runnymede Talking Newspaper in recognition of its long service to visually impaired people in the Borough.   

March 2014 - Welcome Funding

Elmbridge and Runnymede Talking Newspaper has been making recordings digitally since 2012 but recently there have been problems with producing the memory sticks for listeners.  
It was agreed that the electronic copying board needed replacing.  

As the Charity’s running expenses are funded by only three local Rotary Clubs, the prospect 
of this expenditure was a concern to the executive committee.

We appealed for help to the Runnymede Community Projects Fund and were delighted to learn that they have agreed to donate £400 for this project.   We also received a similar donation from the Elmbridge Small Charities Fund, which will cover the balance required for this equipment and help towards our running costs.

We are very grateful for these grants and look forward to trouble-free copying of the memory sticks for our listeners.

Moving With The Times

Since 1975 the Elmbridge and Runnymede Talking Newspaper has sent weekly taped recordings of local news, taken from the Surrey Advertiser group of  newspapers, to visually impaired people in the two boroughs.

However, in June listeners received mp3 recordings (“flash drives”) for the first time.   In mid-May each of them was sent a player or “Boom Box” and guidance on its use.   As the boxes are also capable of receiving FM radio programmes, they were able to practise using them before receiving their first flash drives.

The flash drives will be sent in the pouches which have been in use for many years, and in order to make them easily recognisable they will continue to be in the colours with which we have all become familiar:  yellow for the weekly tape, blue for the Woman’s Weekly and green for the monthly magazine edition

Mrs. Margaret Boulter, who represents the listeners on the executive committee, was asked to try using the Boom Box and a trial recording.   She said “I was pleased to try the Boom Box.   It is pleasant to handle, the controls were easy to identify and use, and the quality of the recording was good.   I am looking forward to receiving my first recording to play on my
Boom Box”.

On a recent visit to the studio as Mayor of Runnymede, Cllr. David Parr was told of the planned change and Editor, Chris Florence, showed him how to use a Boom Box.

Chris Florence and Councellr David Parr with a Boom Box