End of an era as Buckingham’s talking newspaper ceases production

A photo from 2014 showing some of the team behind the Talking Newspaper - from the left Brenda Frost, administrator, John Murray, sound recordist, Brenda Smith and Marillyn Stewart, readers
A photo from 2014 showing some of the team behind the Talking Newspaper - from the left Brenda Frost, administrator, John Murray, sound recordist, Brenda Smith and Marillyn Stewart, readers

The last ever edition of the Buckingham Talking Newspaper has been recorded and distributed.

The talking paper was launched in 1985 by members of Buckingham Rotary Club.

It was designed for blind and partially sighted people, and consisted of recordings of a selection of the Buckingham & Winslow Advertiser’s news articles.

In the early days, more than 100 tapes were sent out but the final edition saw just 14 USB sticks sent out by the Post Office.

Chair of the Talking Paper John Murray said: “A lot of our volunteers are older now and a lot of the older users of this service have died.

“There have also been advances in healthcare so less people are registered blind.

“There are other ways that blind people can get the news now - through a talking computer or by listening to it on TV or radio.”

The Talking Paper was founded by John Collins, Chris Fagg and Peter Wagland who organised a band of volunteers who would meet up at SEME’s premises in School Lane on Fridays, by permission of Colin Richardson.

They would record the articles inside a day and the Post Office would then prioritise deliveries of the yellow envelopes with the talking papers in on a Saturday morning.

In recent years, the recordings have taken place within a room at The Buckingham School and among the readers was Buckingham MP John Bercow.