Sound On

The Ipswich and District Talking Newspaper

I became involved with The Ipswich and District Talking Newspaper as a result of reading an appeal in the Evening Star newspaper for volunteers who would be interested in forming a steering committee. My wife and I attended the first public meeting which was held on a cold November evening in 1976 at the Central Library in Northgate Street, Ipswich. The chairman was Bob Light and the aim was to establish whether or not a Talking Newspaper service was needed in Ipswich and the surrounding area and, if so, to form a steering committee to look in detail at the idea and come up with proposals for the way forward. It was agreed that the service was needed and I was a member of the steering committee which was formed.

After about six weeks of research and planning the formal launch of the project took place at the Corn Exchange in January 1977 when a full committee was elected. Again Bob Light was elected as Chairman, Marilyn Brooks was Secretary and Anthony Broster was Treasurer. Other committee members were the blind professional pianist Clive Moore, Brian Lockie, Bill Turnbull, Ian Lowrie, Tony Pyatt who was at the time editor of the Evening Star and myself.

To get the project off the ground took a huge amount of fund-raising, mainly to buy all the equipment needed to record and duplicate the weekly tapes and to allow users without a suitable cassette player to be given one by the organisation. From inception to first edition took eight months of hard work by numerous people to not only raise the money but to find the volunteer news readers, recording and duplicating engineers, the home service engineers and the administrators and packers needed to enable us to create and send out the 100 or so cassette tapes each week.

The very first edition was sent out on 13th October 1977. As now the news items were chosen mainly from the pages of the previous six editions of the Evening Star, the ‘Sound On’ editor very often being either Tony Pyatt himself or Carol Carver. The Evening Star have always been very closely involved in supporting the project which from the beginning was based at their offices in Ipswich.

After it’s initial launch I remained a ‘Sound On’ committee member and a volunteer engineer for some while. Unfortunately this had to cease when I became professionally involved with the lighting at the Felixstowe Spa Pavilion Theatre.

A more detailed history of the first ten years of ‘Sound On’ is available here.

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