Frome Talking Newspaper looks to digital future

Frome Talking Newspaper looks to digital future

At 101 years old Pauline Varnals is the oldest recipient of the weekly bulletins from the Frome Talking Newspaper.

For 30 years, since her eyesight began to fail, Mrs Varnals, who lives on the Critchill Estate with her daughter Susan, has been listening to the news that appears in the Frome Standard every week.

Mrs Varnals said: “I used to enjoy getting the newspaper through the door and reading about what is going on in Frome but now I keep up with the news by listening to the recordings.”

Since its creation in 1981, the Frome Talking Newspaper has recorded the weekly news on cassettes and distributed them to its listeners.

However, in a move to catch up with the 21st century the cassette tapes have now been replaced with memory sticks and digital players.

Each week the talking newspaper volunteers gather at Frome FM, at the Old Fire Station, to make the recordings.

The news is read by a variety of people including members of Frome Drama Club, the Lions, as well as people from Frome’s reading groups and book clubs.

Chairman Gill Fone said the new technology would make the process a lot quicker.

She said: “The duplication on to the memory sticks now only takes five seconds when previously using cassettes it took an hour-and-a-half.

“We also hope the sticks and players will be easier to manage.”

It has cost more than £3,000 to replace the old equipment with donations from Frome Town Council, the Rotary Club and Frome Lions as well as money from the Talking Newspaper.

Anyone who is blind or partially sighted and has difficulty in reading the Frome Standard each week and would like to receive a copy of the Frome Talking Newspaper memory stick should call Mrs Fone on 01373 462658.

The Talking Newspaper is also broadcast by FromeFM on Saturday morning at 10.30am and Sunday morning at 10.30am.

The Talking Newspaper is also available as a download at FromeFM.