Wirral Talking Newspaper original committee
One of our first recordings
Is to bring up to date news and a magazine feature by way of a free weekly recording to all those who are blind, partially sighted, or those labouring under some temporary or permanent incapacity or disability which makes reading a strain.
A brief history
In 1983 Ron Walker, who was blind and was the Technician for the Talking Book service in Birkenhead, introduced the idea of a Talking Newspaper for Wirral and, together with Rev. Roy Lawrence of St. Stephen`s Church, launched an appeal for interested people. A meeting was held and a team of key people was appointed, with Ben Toobe as Chairman and Helen Carter as Secretary. Brian Danger was Editor, Harry Smith - Treasurer, Roy Patten-Chief Technician and Betty Jones Registrar. A visit was made to Ellesmere Port T N to see what would be required for setting up the new group and membership of TNALK, the national T N body, was obtained for further guidence.
Lord Evans of Claughton agreed to become Patron and he chaired the inaugural meeting on 13th June 1983, at which the Mayor of Wirral, Councillor Harry Deverill and some 100 people attended. Some financial assistance for the initial setting up was promised by Wirral Council and an offer of rent-free space for a recording studio was offered by Mr. Epton of the Wirral Christian Centre.
Following the meeting there was a good response to the request for volunteers and great efforts were made, led by Joan Clement, for fund raising with very encouraging results.
The first pilot edition recording was made on borrowed equipment in November 1983 and was sent out to several selected people for comment. At Christmas the new recording & copying equipment arrived and, on the 2nd February 1984 the first full tape was sent out to 92 listeners in Birkenhead.
By summer that year the number had risen to 200 and distribution was extended to Bebington and then continued to cover the whole of Wirral. The circulation is approximately 450 now, although at one time it reached above 700.
There have been several changes since 1984. Chairman Ben Toobe retired at the first AGM to move away to Dorset and his place was taken by Harry Deverill (former Mayor of Wirral), then in turn by Ken Birch, David Black and Alan Powell. After 13 years as Chairman, Alan retired at the end of 2010, to be followed by Mrs. Pat Thew.
WTN celebrated it's 10th anniversary in 1994 and 21st anniversary in 2005.
The studio at the Wirral Christian Centre had become too small in 2001 and a move was made to The Grove, followed by a move to Woodchurch Road in 2005. The development at this address were change-over from cassette tapes to digital recording, using memory sticks and individual speaker players for listeners where required.
In February 2013, we moved to our current location, Maritime House, Balls Road.
© Wirral Talking Newspaper 2011
Charity number 514186