Michael Fabricant visited Lichfield Talking News on Friday (26th November) and learned that Lichfield is leading the way nationally into the digital age – and the former BBC broadcaster read a report for its listeners.
"Talking News for the blind or partially sighted has traditionally been a 90 minute weekly tape recorded on cassette. But with cassette players ceasing production worldwide at the end of 2011, Lichfield sought another solution. John May of Lichfield Talking News told me that they are now distributing Talking News on memory sticks with over 10 hours recording capacity each week. And uniquely, they are working with a firm based in Newark, Nottinghamshire to develop memory stick players for the severely disabled. Interest has already been shown nationally and from Talking News in Germany. The development of this project followed on from a visit to Saxon Hill School where he met 9 blind and very severely disabled children who need special equipment to operate the memory stick.
"I am hugely impressed by the project" says Michael. "And I applaud Lichfield Lions Club, local charities, and individuals who support it."
Lichfield Talking News provides a service to Lichfield, a separate stream for Burton on Trent, and provides input to a national service. All the equipment and the weekly supply of memory sticks are all provided free of charge. "We are the friends who drop through the letterbox every Saturday morning" says John May.
Photographs show Michael reading a report for Lichfield Talking News with John May sitting beside him and the present memory stick player with a photo of the prototype for use by the severely disabled currently being developed by Lichfield Talking News for use nationally and internationally.