Published: April 19, 2011
School students and BARB in the spotlight for audio news service

A group of King Alfred School students became newsreaders for a day this week when they recorded news items from for the latest edition of an audio news service aimed at blind and partially-sighted people.

Four Year 9 students - Lauren Constance, Colette Adams, Gabrielle Ashford and Charlotte Biggs - read out news items for the 'Sounds and Voices' talking newspaper.

Editor Tony Deahl said that he was very grateful that the students had given up a day of their Easter holiday to take part at the Sounds and Voices studio in Burnham's Old Courthouse in Jaycroft Road.

He added: "They were very professional in the studio and brought a welcome breath of fresh air to the recording."

Tony also interviewed the students about their interests and what life is like for a 14 year-old in 2011.

In the second part of the recording, Tony interviewed Roger Flower, secretary of BARB, the hovercraft rescue charity.

He explained how BARB had come about, the sad circumstances that led to a hovercraft being stationed in Burnham and how the charity's premises had been built in three days in the BBC Challenge Anneka TV programme.

He talked of the many rescues undertaken by BARB, from individuals, cars and boats stuck in mud to swans trapped in ice. He gave a graphic description of the recent carnage when many swans were shot. He also pointed out that without the great generosity of local people and readers of the Western Daily Press we would not have a hovercraft rescue service. £30,000 has to be raised annually to keep the volunteer-run service operational.

Roger also talked about the Christmas lights in Trinity Rise, where he is a resident. This annual venture annually raises £6,000 for charity and has visitors arriving by the coachload.

Sounds and Voices is available free to any blind or partially sighted person in the Burnham, Highbridge and Cheddar valley area every two weeks. For more details, call Joyce Dunbavan on 01278 783583. The recordings are produced on memory sticks and the equipment used to play them is on free loan. There are not even any postage costs.

The King Alfred School pupils are pictured top and, above, Roger Flower with editor Tony Deahl and sound engineer Patrick McKenna


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