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The Epsom and Ewell Talking Newspaper is a charity producing a weekly sound recording of news and other items primarily for blind and partially sighted people.
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Poetry, teaching, acting, singing and song-writing – all in a day’s work for EETN’s legendary, longest-serving volunteer. Her voice is instantly recognisable for its warmth, sincerity and humour, so we’ll let you find out who the mystery lady is when you listen to the interview.
Jan Collier reports.
There’s long service and then there’s very long service and here at Epsom and Ewell Talking Newspaper, we are proud and privileged to have a wonderful lady on our team who has been volunteering with us for more than three decades. When you hear that she became involved with EETN after taking early retirement from teaching, you will know why she is our own much valued ‘doyenne’ and is indeed a legend with an awesome level of commitment.
Our interview took place last week, after our mystery lady had just read the News for our listeners and before she went on to read the Magazine. As she chats and reads some of her poems, you’ll hear a little about her life and her early years at EETN, and you will applaud her outlook on life and her commitment to the things she holds dear.
Following our regular recording on Thursday 8th March, the Epsom and Ewell Talking Newspaper held its Annual General Meeting in Bradbury Lodge, Swail House, Epsom.
Listeners were invited to come and hear Chairman Judy Sarssam’s report on how things have progressed at EETN over the past year and learn more about some of the behind-the-scenes volunteers who play vital roles in our support.
Welcoming newcomers as well as long-term listeners, Judy began by thanking the volunteers who give their time so generously and without whom, she said, there would be no paper. ‘The atmosphere at EETN is so good and every volunteer so willing to go the extra mile and step into the breach if anyone is unable to attend at short notice’.
She then explained some of the roles that volunteers played, including visits and interaction with listeners, keeping the website up to date and also the complexities of the technical side of EETN recordings, praising ‘stalwart’ volunteer Roger Stockwell for his technical wizardry and understanding of the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the equipment.
Judy was immensely proud that only three recordings in the last year had been cancelled, two during the Christmas break and the third on March 1st owing to heavy snow and adverse travel conditions.
Discussing some of our interviews in the last year, which included former Mayor George Crawford and current Mayor Liz Frost, both of whom gave their time freely to learn more about us, Judy was delighted that we were also able to welcome Rt. Hon Chris Grayling MP into our studio at the end of September. ‘Not only did he take time out of his impossibly busy schedule to be with us,’ she said, ‘but he gave us a wonderful insight into his professional and personal life’.
Going forward, Judy expressed her gratitude that the incoming Mayor Councillor Neil Dallen, who takes up office in May, has chosen EETN as one of his charities. ‘We are very privileged’, she said, ‘and will do all we can to encourage family, friends and neighbours to promote the Mayor’s Charities. What we need most of all at EETN is exposure. It is surprising how many local people have no knowledge of our charity, despite our regularly distributed publicity leaflets and annual Awareness Days in the Ashley Centre.’
During the meeting, many aspects of EETN were discussed, including the essential extra work, undertaken by volunteers, to comply with regulations, particularly those relating to data protection for our listeners.
Our Treasurer’s report by Richard Wheeler gave a detailed account of EETN’s financial position, detailing outgoings and income and generous donations from many sources, which are our main source of income.
Summing up, Judy, who spoke from the heart, without notes, again expressed her gratitude for the dedication of our volunteers.
‘I am very proud of our newspaper, totally run by volunteers. Our service is free, funds are raised by the public and we comply with all the rules and regulations. Thank you to everyone who helps to keep our service operating for our appreciative listeners.’
Tea and biscuits, organised by volunteer Heather Griffin and Gabrielle Richardson were then welcomed by everyone.
Here’s a recording of the Chairman’s report in full:
On Thursday, 22nd February, Councillor Liz Frost, MSc, FCOptom, Mayor of Epsom and Ewell visited the Talking Newspaper whilst the regular weekly recording session was taking place.
The Mayor being interviewed by Jan Collier
She kindly gave an interview to News Editor Jan Collier and talked about her year in office so far. She discussed the great work being done to raise money for her chosen charities and praised the people of our borough for their Community Spirit. The Mayor highlighted some of the many fundraising and memorable events she has attended, told us about one aspect of being Mayor that might surprise many of us – and let us into a little secret about one big disappointment in her Mayoral year.
Click on the play button below to listen to her interview.