PENfriend coming to Epsom Library

Image of a PENfriend

Surrey Libraries are launching an exciting and innovative new tool for visually impaired people. Manufactured by Mantra Lingua, the ‘PENfriend’ will be available in every library in the network and will enable users with a visual impairment to listen to a brief synopsis of an audio book to help them make an informed selection. It is planned that PENfriend will be launched in Epsom library in March, 2017.

The device works by reading the coded label on each audio book to play back the author, title, narrator and book synopsis. Every audio book in the library has been added to the PENfriend, allowing borrowers to make their selection independently.

The PENfriend will be available to any library user on request. Surrey’s libraries have over 9,000 audio books available to borrow so why not take advantage of their request service that operates across the county?

For all enquiries please phone Surrey County Council libraries on 01483 543599 or text (07968 832414) or email Details can be found on the website at

It Certainly Felt A Lot Like Christmas!

By Jan Collier


Just after our last recording of the year  was safely packaged for posting, on  Thursday 15th December,  our Epsom and Ewell Talking Newspaper office became a hive of party activity. Volunteer readers, packers, sound recordists and editors arrived laden with  home-made party food including delicious canapés, tartlets and vol-au-vents and of course sausage rolls and mince pies too. Everyone played a part, specially when it came to dressing up in their festive hats and jumpers. As you’ll see from our photo, the head gear was most imaginative – Camilla even transformed a lovely red trilby with dazzling red and green tinsel, Heather donned a headband  sporting cute little Xmas mittens and there were antlers and jesters hats and others with tinkling bells and mini illuminated Christmas trees.

But the prize for best head-gear, if there had been one, would have gone to our Guests of  Honour, our President the Mayor of Epsom and Ewell, Cllr George Crawford QPM and his partner the Mayoress Jackie Hennings – their entrance together in Nordic-style Xmas hats with white plaits had us all rocking with laughter.

Sporting the biggest grin and with a real twinkle in his eye, our Mayor laughingly told us that he had originally dressed for the occasion in a dark shirt and suit, but when partner Jackie came to meet him, she was horrified. ‘She said I couldn’t go like that because the invite has said to ‘wear something festive’, so she marched us off to the pop up Christmas shop in the High Street, where we bought these two great hats! I wasn’t sure if we’d get away with it, but all seems to be ok.’

We were so honoured that the Mayor found time in his very busy schedule to attend our party, particularly as he already had several other important appointments that day.  We were even more excited when he agreed to play his ukulele for us. He’s played guitar all his life, but has only been playing the ukulele for three years. We were soon all enjoying a fantastic sing-along of an unexpected style…

Kicking off straight away with some old George Formby favourites, he soon had us all singing along to ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’ and ‘Leaning on a Lamp post’, then he delighted our Scottish volunteers with ‘I belong to Glasgow’ and threw in the West ham supporters favourite ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.’

While we continued with our little gathering in true party spirit, the Mayor and Mayoress took their leave and headed off to their next appointment and then later that evening on to a special event at Glyn School, where he would undoubtedly be invited to entertain the gathering once more – something he says he never tires of doing.

We say a huge ‘Thank You’ to our President, the Mayor and Mayoress, and everyone at EETN wishes them and all of our listeners, a VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS’.

We look forward to being back with your weekly recording on 5th January.

Talking News via Sonata Plus+

The Epsom and Ewell Talking News is now available via the Sonata Plus+ service of the British Wireless for the Blind Fund. If you have access to a Sonata Plus+ player, you can use it to listen to the full contents of our weekly newspaper.

On your Sonata Plus+ player first select Talking Newspapers from the main menu choice. Then select Local Talking Newspapers, London and South East and finally Epsom and Ewell Talking Newspaper.

If you want to find out more, including their free loans of Sonata Plus+ players, you can go to their website British Wireless for the Blind Fund or telephone 01622 754757 or email them at