In October, the Tandridge Lions Talking Newspaper (TLTN) celebrates its 40th anniversary.
Initially launched in 1981 by the Lions Club of Caterham, Oxted and Godstone, a team of volunteers began recording themselves reading local news stories onto a cassette tape, and sending them out to residents with visual impairments.
Now self-funded through a 250 Club, the 60-strong TLTN team distributes approximately 80 memory sticks a fortnight to its listeners, loaded with news and longer, magazine-style articles.
Chairwoman Diana Drysdale has been involved with TLTN since its inception, and says that talking newspapers are a lifeline to many people:
“Many of our listeners are elderly and have lost their sight in later life. They can’t read print and this can lead to them feeling isolated in their community. The TLTN keeps them up-to-date with what’s happening in the area, and is read by a team of friendly, familiar voices.”
TLTN’s first home was at Horizon Radio, at St Lawrence’s Hospital: Diana remembers the microphones occasionally picking up the shortwave radios from the taxis outside! Following a short stint in a cupboard in Eothen School’s 6th Form common room, the organisation moved to a disused storeroom in Soper Hall, and since 2019 has had a bespoke space in the Ridge Radio studio.
The team are hoping to hold an anniversary party in the autumn, giving their listeners and readers the chance to meet in person.
The TLTN, which is a member of the Talking News Federation, is looking for a part-time administrator: for more information call Diana on 01883 742708.