Hold the front page for this dedicated team of news readers

Burnley and District Talking Newspaper volunteers Alan Dunderdale (left) his wife Marjorie and Brian Horne, prepare the next edition for listeners
Burnley and District Talking Newspaper volunteers Alan Dunderdale (left) his wife Marjorie and Brian Horne, prepare the next edition for listeners

In a society where news is at our fingertips 24 hours a day an organisation that delivers the headlines this year celebrates its 40th birthday.

And how will the Burnley and District Talking Newspaper be celebrating the landmark event?

Burnley and District Talking Newspaper minutes secretary Mr Philip Bracewell listens to the latest news on the memory stick.

Burnley and District Talking Newspaper minutes secretary Mr Philip Bracewell listens to the latest news on the memory stick.

Simply by doing what it has done so well over the past four decades.

Marjorie Dunderdale, a volunteer for the group with her husband, Alan, said: “We are using the anniversary to spread the word about the talking newspaper to reach out to people who could benefit from it.”

The couple are part of a 40 strong team of volunteers each with their own role for the group which has around 90 regular weekly recipients.

A free service to the blind and partially sighted, the group was launched in 1977 and since then weekly recordings are made of the top stories from the Burnley Express and a variety of magazines.

Funded by donations from generous local organisations and individual supporters, the volunteers are split into teams who edit, record and copy the stories.

A number of volunteers have been involved with the project for many years and there is still a reading team which includes the “GPO girls.”

Today’s generation would not recognise the old fashioned cassettes the news was recorded onto at the start and over the years the Talking Newspaper has moved with the times and gone digital.

Recording has switched from cassette to memory sticks to improve sound quality and, as always, the Post Office delivers them in special pouches free of charge.

The idea for a talking newspaper was born at the former Temple Street Centre in Burnley where social workers, representatives of organisations for the blind, fundraising groups and, of course, the Burnley Express made a firm commitment to the idea of bringing the news to people who were not able to bob into their local shop and pick up a copy of the paper.

The support from the people of Burnley was magnificent from the off and appeals for volunteers, cassette tapes and players and also donations poured in from schools, pubs and other volunteer groups.

As testimony to how well received the Talking Newspaper is, one of its first recipients, Mr John Faraday, said it helped him to keep in touch with all that was going on in the town.

He said: “I have been blind for 14 years so I am very grateful to the volunteers who do such a wonderful job.”

If you know of anyone who would benefit from the Talking Newspaper please contact Marjorie on 01282 422984.