Saturday August 18 marked a special milestone for the Hastings Talking Newspaper as the charity celebrated its Fortieth birthday with a lunchtime party to mark the opening of a new recording studio.
Hastings Talking Newspaper produces a weekly recorded news and magazine programme for the visually handicapped within the Hastings and Rother area.
It is run by volunteers and funded largely by donations to keep blind and otherwise visually disabled people aware of local news and information that is otherwise unavailable from any other media source.
Doing the honours, on Saturday, by unveiling ‘the hut’ as the new studio is affectionately known, were Hastings Mayor Cllr Nigel Sinden and former Observer series Editor
Both the Mayor and Keith Ridley were then invited to record special messages of their own, to be included in this week’s edition of the Talking Newspaper.
The audience of around 60 invited listeners, volunteers and helpers, along with representatives of Healey House, Hastings and Rother Voluntary Association for the Blind and donor organisations attended the event which was staged in the Taplin Centre and the grounds of Healey House in St Leonards.
Welcoming the guests, David Dixon, Head of News for HTN, explained the history of the charity, the move to digital recording and thanked all the HTN volunteers for their tireless dedication over the years.
He also thanked the Healey House staff for their kind help and assistance in the re-location of the studio from its former base in Battle Road.
Hastings Talking Newspaper Chairman Chris Ralph then closed the formal part of the event by underlining the charitable status of the organisation and making a general appeal for donations.
He emphasised that the vast majority of the money raised in donations and bequests is used to provide this free service and equipment to listeners.
The Hastings Talking Newspaper is a free weekly audio newspaper and magazine of around 90 minutes in length and is available to blind and visually impaired residents of Hastings, St Leonards and the wider Rother area, as well as anyone with impaired reading skills.
Working together in teams, the fifty or so volunteers of the Hastings Talking Newspaper produce almost one hundred hours of original programmes a year in total.
Since forming in the 1980’s, the service has gone from tape recorded cassettes to relying on digital technology.Further information for listeners or volunteers can be found on the charity’s websitewww.hastingstalkingnewspaper.co.uk.