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Talking newspaper volunteers praised at annual general meeting

The hundreds of hours of work put in by dedicated volunteers to produce the town’s talking newspaper was praised at the charity’s annual general meeting on Sunday.

A group of about 30 listeners and supporters gathered at St Mark’s Crescent Methodist Church, in Allenby Road, for the Maidenhead & District Talking Newspaper Association’s 34th AGM.

Chairman Diane Hayes paid tribute to the charity’s ‘very loyal group’ of 80 volunteers, adding it is ‘a commitment not to be undertaken lightly’.

Every Friday, a team of volunteers, working on a rota, gather to record a weekly audio version of the Advertiser, which is then edited and distributed to 63 visually impaired service users on a USB stick.

The service, which also involves monthly lifestyle magazine recordings, is free.

Attendees at the meeting heard the charity has maintained a good level of volunteers despite the retirement of many long-serving supporters, with an appeal in the Advertiser proving to be particularly successful in recruiting fresh blood.

Finances at the charity ‘remain healthy’ despite a drop in income from donations.

Diane said a total of 1,900 unpaid hours had gone into producing the talking newspaper in the past year, and added: “It gives so much pleasure to our listeners and is thoroughly worthwhile.

The Deputy Mayor, Cllr Colin Rayner (Con, Horton & Wraysbury), and his wife, Cllr Samantha Rayner (Con, Eton Wick) were in attendance.

Speaking to the audience, the Deputy Mayor said: “It makes me very proud to come back and see it [the charity] still thriving and still doing a brilliant service.”

Before the AGM, attendees were entertained by youngsters from the Maidenhead Suzuki Violin Group, with a 30-minute recital featuring solo and group performances of classical and folk music.

It was followed by afternoon tea, served up by members of Holyport WI.

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