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End of the conversation for talking newspaper



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Local charity the Wisbech and District Talking Newspaper has made the difficult decision to close.

The group was unable to meet to create it’s bi-weekly recordings of local news and monthly ‘contact’ magazine.

The Committee called a meeting for all volunteers last month to discuss the charity’s future. In recent years there have been more volunteers than listeners.

Ann Shippey, the charity’s chair, said: "It’s a testament to both modern technology, and advancements in medicine, that there is not such a demand for our services now.

Wisbech and District Talking Newspapaer volunteers recording the paper in times gone by. (51778979)
Wisbech and District Talking Newspapaer volunteers recording the paper in times gone by. (51778979)

"Medical advancements means that people are less likely to lose their sight, which is, obviously, a great thing, and access technology means blind and partially sighted people can access their news, and other information, independently. So, after some in depth discussions at the volunteer meeting, the difficult decision was made to close the Talking Newspaper."

Ann continued: "We shall be taking advice from the Charity Commission and Talking Newspaper Federation about closing the Newspaper and how to distribute the money we have in the bank. With this in mind we are holding another meeting for all volunteers, listeners and any other interested parties, on Monday October 11 at 7.30pm at St Peter and St Paul’s Church Hall in Wisbech, and I would like to invite all those who would be interested to attend – the more ideas we have the better."

Ann concluded by thanking all the local individuals, families, businesses and organisations who had supported the Newspaper over the years by giving very generous donations.

Wisbech and District Talking Newspapaer volunteers recording the paper in times gone by. (51778967)
Wisbech and District Talking Newspapaer volunteers recording the paper in times gone by. (51778967)

The Wisbech and District Talking Newspaper was officially founded in October 1978, the founding committee consisted of: Chair Ted Rigg; Malcolm Hinchcliffe, secretary; Les Sims, representing the Rotary Club; George Wells, representing the press and Ron Harris, representing social services.

Also involved, were Vivien Thomas, Eric Tweed and H. Harrington, Wisbech Lions and the Guide Dogs for the Blind (Wisbech).

Over the years the Newspaper has had many homes where the recording, copying and dispatching of the Newspaper and Magazine were based, including the Isle College, the Octavia Hill Centre, the Queen Mary Centre, Peckover House and the Octavia Hill Birthplace Museum.

Wisbech and District Talking Newspapaer volunteers recording the paper in times gone by. (51778973)
Wisbech and District Talking Newspapaer volunteers recording the paper in times gone by. (51778973)

Ann wanted to pay tribute to all the volunteers who have given their free time to the newspaper of the years. Whether it be narrating, recording, copying or dispatching the newspaper and magazine, some volunteers had been involved for over 25 years. Thousands of volunteer hours had been donated, both in the production of the newspaper and magazine and ‘behind the scenes’ by the committee – in organising events, fundraising and publicity.

Ann said: "It really is the end of an era, but the committee and volunteers are trying to be positive – it’s for great reasons why there is not such a demand for us now. So many friendships have been developed over the years amongst the volunteers – people from different backgrounds and skill sets - all coming together to create something positive & meaningful & our time together will be missed by us all."



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