‘In recognition of long service and invaluable contribution to volunteering for the Epsom & Ewell Talking Newspaper and the visually impaired community within the Borough of Epsom & Ewell.’

Time flies when you are enjoying what you do in life and it has certainly flown, say many of the wonderful people who have volunteered their services to help produce the Epsom & Ewell Talking Newspaper for a decade or more – even up to an incredible 25 years!

Mayor Clive Woodbridge with Mayoress and EETN Chair Judy Sarssam with award recipients
Award recipients with the Mayor and Mayoress of Epsom and Ewell, EETN Chairman Judy Sarssam, herself visually impaired, and husband Amer, whose vital contribution to EETN was also warmly recognised for the invaluable support he has given Judy in her role as Chairman for the last 11 years.

On Thursday 1st December EETN’s Chairman Judy was delighted to welcome the Mayor of Epsom & Ewell, Councillor Clive Woodbridge and the Mayoress, Mrs. Mary Woodbridge, to Bradbury Lodge in the grounds of Swail House, for a very special Long Service Award Presentation, organised by volunteers including News Editors Tricia and Julie and EETN Office Manager Heather.

Click Play button to listen to Judy Sarssam, EETN Chairman’s Presentation opening:

“We are giving long overdue recognition to the fifteen volunteers who have been committed to this special charity for ten years or more. Two of those wonderful people, Gabrielle and Heather, have been with us for over 21 years and Penny has given 25 years of service.”

Judy Sarssam

Judy raised much laughter when she explained that in the early days of EETN, which started in 1974, cassette recordings were done in a corridor outside a kitchen in Swail House. One of the long- serving volunteers, she said, still remembered the smell of cabbage as she was recording.

“ The recording ‘venues’ changed several times over the years, but in 1997 our current bespoke studio here at Swail House was opened –and here we are 2341 issues of EETN later,” .


In a brief resume of how the Talking Newspaper operates, Judy explained that many skill sets were required to deliver a quality service to the Listeners.  These, she said, included Sound Recordists, News , Magazine and Supplement Editors,  Readers with clear voices and the all-important backroom team and to spread the word about our fantastic service, we have our essential Social Media Manager.

“Without the whole team of Volunteers, EETN would not exist. Everyone plays an integral role in delivering this Free service to visually impaired people.”

Judy Sarssam

Among the invited guests and volunteers were Robert Lahai, Swail House Manager, who set up the room for us, Eamonn McNamee, Manager for Central Surrey Voluntary Action, who kindly read the citations and Serena Powis, from EEBC Community and Voluntary Sector Liaison Officer. 

Mayor Clive Woodbridge with Robert Lahai, Swail House Manager

The Mayor, Councillor Clive Woodbridge welcomed the background history to EETN

“The fact that the 15 volunteers we have honoured today have amassed a staggering total of over 200 years of volunteering is truly humbling. I am tremendously honoured to be the President of the organisation, continuing a tradition going back to 1991.”

Mayor Clive Woodbridge

Click Play to listen to Mayor, Clive Woodbridge’s Presentation speech

After each citation, which gave a brief insight into the role each volunteer had played over the years, the Mayor presented the recipient with a signed certificate.  Those who were unfortunately unable to attend will receive a recording of their citation and their Award certificate.

With formalities successfully completed, Judy then invited all the guests and Volunteers to enjoy some light refreshments while having a catch-up with each other and a jolly get-together.