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At the end of 2013, SADTN sent its weekly audio programmes to 88 listeners. By the end of September 2014, that number had grown to 114 – with an average of four new listeners being added each month.
Nearly 30 of our listeners accepted SADTN’s invitation to visit ‘Music in Bloom’, the 2014 flower festival at St Albans Abbey, on 26th September. Brought there and back home again afterwards in a fleet of eleven taxis and private cars, each listener was escorted by a personal volunteer around the 139 displays that filled the Abbey, while music played throughout.
SADTN’s Committee came up with the idea because they thought the scent of so many flowers together with the musical accompaniment would help to bring this major flower festival alive for those with limited sight.
The escorting and key support team included around 40 TN volunteers, their friends, members of ‘Audio Description at the Abbey Theatre’, friends from St Albans Diocese Mothers Union, and sixth form students from St Albans School. The visit ended, after a personal tour lasting two or more hours, with tea and cakes in the marquee.
Photo: SADTN’s own flower display, designed and created by Fiona Ashley
Thirty pubs, clubs and other venues in Harpenden and surrounding villages contributed to the ‘huge’ cheque for £2,500 presented in June by Harpenden Lions Club (HLC) to St Albans & District Talking Newspaper.
The Skew Bridge on Southdown Road in Harpenden collected the largest single amount – £500. Hosting the presentation was a double celebration for landlords Bernie and Nick as they had just reopened after three weeks’ refurbishment.
“Every year, we provide local pubs – and other key locations – with a massive Easter Egg to raffle,” explained Andrew Godden, President of HLC. “We ask them to collect the most they can from their customers. The Skew Bridge did a fantastic job.”
“Thanks to the efforts of the Harpenden Lions Club, we will be launching a campaign in search of new listeners – using a new logo, posters, leaflets and our first website,” said Rob Pearman, Chairman of SADTN.
PHOTO: Back row: Andrew presents the cheque to Rob. Front row: Bernie Francesca and Nick Collins of The Skew Bridge.
Cllr Annie Brewster, Mayor of St Albans City and District, congratulated St Albans & District Talking Newspaper (SADTN) on 26 April for reaching its 40th anniversary. Cllr Brewster cut the anniversary cake at the charity’s Annual General meeting at St Mary’s Church, Marshalswick. Help was close at hand in the form of Mike Tetley, his guide dog Wendy, and around 30 other visually impaired listeners.
Cllr Brewster and Cllr Rosemary Farmer, Harpenden Town Mayor, chatted with many of the 90 listeners, volunteers and guests at the celebrations. Also present were representatives from neighbouring Talking Newspapers across the County. Presentations were made by representatives of the national Talking Newspaper Federation and the Harpenden Lions Club. The Club’s 2014 Easter Egg Raffle is funding a communications package for SADTN, which will help develop its first website, to be launched soon at www.sadtn.org.uk.
Cllr Annie Brewster, Mayor of St Albans City and District, said: “St Albans & District Talking Newspaper does a fantastic job helping members of our community who are visually impaired. Through their weekly audio programmes, the charity keeps listeners in touch with what’s happening across the District. Those of us who enjoy the benefit of sight often forget that visual impairment can leave you excluded from what’s going on around the community. I offer my congratulations for the first 40 years of this very important local charity. This is one of the oldest Talking Newspapers in the whole of the UK – long may it prosper!”
The charity provides a free news service to visually impaired people and is supported by volunteers that have included local celebrities, the late Eric Morecambe and Philip Madoc. From its studios on Hatfield Road, SADTN produces a weekly audio programme using news items from the Herts Advertiser and the St Albans & Harpenden Review. Articles from Hertfordshire Life and interviews with local ‘celebrities’ are also included in the programme.. Once completed, the programme is then loaded onto memory sticks which are sent each week by post to 100 local listeners. They listen to the programme on the special “boom boxes” provided free of charge by SADTN.
SADTN Chairman, Rob Pearman, commented: “Our fantastic volunteers, we have about 80 of them, work hard to get these programmes into the homes of our listeners. We raise the cash every year so we can provide this service at no cost to our listeners. Our commitment is to reach out to everyone in St Albans, Harpenden and all the villages within the District. Anyone who is visually impaired, or unable to read the local papers for any reason, can be a listener.”
St Albans Mayor, Cllr Annie Brewster, cuts SADTN’s 40th anniversary cake
[Photo by Brian Doble, L.R.P.S]