King’s Lynn talking newspaper celebrates a major milestone

David Gifford: Picture submitted

David Gifford: Picture submitted - Credit: Archant

The only talking newspaper left in west Norfolk is celebrating 35 years of providing the news for blind and partially-sighted people.

At its peak, the King's Lynn talking newspaper had 200 listeners, but that number is down to around 110.

West Norfolk mayor Colin Manning will record a Christmas message to the listeners this evening, at the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind's equipment centre in North Lynn, where the weekly newspaper is based.

David Gifford, chairman of the King's Lynn Talking Newspaper Association, said: 'With advances in medical science and personal computers, the lifespan of talking newspapers would appear to be limited. However, as long as there is a need the King's Lynn talking newspaper will provide blind and partially-sighted people a lifeline to the local news.'

The newspaper's first taped recording was made in December 1980 as a joint venture between King's Lynn Lions Club and hospital radio. The first edition contained news and carols, and John Greyson used a reel-to-reel tape, which meant any mistakes had to be physically cut out. A tape-recording machine, which allowed mistakes to be recorded over, was soon obtained.

The first editor of the tape was Ken Eatwell, who was followed by Mel Barr and then by Mr Gifford.

Three years ago, the newspaper went from a tape format to a micro stick, with recordings made into a computer.

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The standard of sound quality has improved enormously, and each listener is now provided with a micro-stick player, referred to as a boom box, and given a demonstration by NNAB staff.

Are you celebrating a milestone? Email reporter David Bale at david.bale2@archant.co.uk