Talking newspaper volunteers descend on Exmouth for South West conference

Exmouth mayor Steve Gazzard, Exmouth Talking Newspapers chairman Bob Donald and secretary Jill Laws

Exmouth mayor Steve Gazzard, Exmouth Talking Newspapers chairman Bob Donald and secretary Jill Laws and town crier Roger Bourgein. Picture: Bob Donald - Credit: Bob Donald

Delegates travelled from as far away as Bodmin and Shaftesbury for a talking newspapers conference in Exmouth.

More than 60 representatives from across the South West attended the event held at St Joseph's Primary School.

Talking newspapers are volunteer-run initiatives giving people with sight difficulties the chance to keep up-to-date with local news via audio recordings.

Exmouth mayor councillor Steve Gazzard attended this year's event, telling the gathered audience he believes himself to be the first visually impaired mayor of the town.

Cllr Gazzard said he has benefitted from the service which Exmouth Talking Newspaper provides.

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He was joined at the event by town crier Roger Bourgein.

A varied programme of presentations included one on the activities of the Exmouth scheme as well as other local and national speakers.

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There was a talk on improving sound recordings and Exmouth Talking Newspaper website manager Rosalynde Tucker spoke about having an online presence.

The afternoon programme included a section on 'describing pictures' by Jill Clark and a reading skills presentation by Jessica Thurtell.

An open forum finished the day with some delegates taking the opportunity to visit the Exmouth studio.

Bob Donald, chairman of Exmouth Talking Newspaper, said: "Feedback from delegates indicates a very well received and successful day and thanks were expressed to all the Exmouth Talking Newspaper committee and volunteers."

Dr Donald thanked St Joseph's Primary School headteacher Nicola Taylor-Bashford for allowing the conference to use the premises.

Following the event, secretary Gill Laws BEM visited pupils at the school to tell them about the conference.

They listened to recordings with their eyes closed to show how the visually impaired are able to use the technology.

The Exmouth Talking Newspaper is a free service available to anyone in Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton, and the surrounding area, and is recorded weekly, using the news from the Exmouth Journal.

The recordings are distributed by a team of more than 60 volunteers.

Anyone who thinks they could benefit from the service should ring Gill Laws on 01395 266968

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