Talking paper's new era

AFTER many years of relying on an oldfashioned tape-based system Andover Talking Newspaper has leapt into the digital age to provide the latest news from the pages of the Andover Advertiser with even greater clarity.

The service is intended for those who find it difficult to read, usually as a result of failing eyesight.

The digital system was installed over the past weeks and now means that all 72 users receive an easy to use memory stick to access the 90 minutes of news and information from the Andover Advertiser.

The talking newspaper has been in operation since the days when this newspaper was under the ownership of the Holmes family in the 1970s and been supported by staff here ever since who ensure that the pre-print proofs are available in time for listeners to get their news at the same time as the rest of the population.

The change to digital meant that the organisation had to spend £6,000 on new equipment, but the change has massive benefits.

Jan Surtees, who has been the chairman for the past year, said: “The change means we are now bang up to date with the digital technology but it meant we had to spend the money on new boom boxes and memory sticks.

“The change has been very successful and all the listeners seem to be pleased with the clarity of the recording.

“The memory sticks are very easy to use. This year I will be trying to raise the profile of the organisation to attract new listeners.”

The recording are completed in the bowels of Test Valley Borough Council’s headquarters in Beech Hurst on Thursday afternoons and then sent out in time to catch the post.

l To receive the talking newspaper or find out more about the service call Mrs Surtees on 01264 790157.

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