'We will have no option' - Talking newspaper needs help to survive

Mardler Talking volunteers (L-R from the back) Ruth Harrison, Peter Adamson, Jolyon Booth, founding

Mardler Talking Newspaper volunteers (L-R from the back) Ruth Harrison, Peter Adamson, Jolyon Booth, founding member Margaret Phillips and chairman Toni Rhodes. - Credit: Danielle Booden

They have been keeping the people of north Norfolk informed of the latest news for more than 25 years, but now a talking newspaper is fighting for its future. 

The team of volunteers at the Mardler Talking Newspaper may soon be able to resume recording and distributing stories from the North Norfolk News and Eastern Daily Press, following an enforced break during the lockdowns.

Volunteer Jolyon Booth, founding member Margaret Phillips, volunteer Peter Adamson, chairman Toni Rh

From left, Volunteer Jolyon Booth, founding member Margaret Phillips, volunteer Peter Adamson, chairman Toni Rhodes and volunteer Ruth Harrison from the Mardler Talking Newspaper. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

But chairman Toni Rhodes said they desperately needed more helpers to support its service to hundreds of visually-impaired people across north Norfolk. 

Mrs Rhodes, 74, said: "We have lost a number of volunteers for varying reasons. Too many, unfortunately, to continue providing the standard of service to which our blind and visually impaired listeners have become accustomed.

Aylsham Methodist Church where the Mardler Talking have their studio space. Picture: Danielle Booden

Aylsham Methodist Church where the Mardler Talking Newspaper have their studio space. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

"If help is not forthcoming, it will be with deep regret but we will have no option other than to discontinue this service for our deserving listeners."


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The Mardler was founded in 1985 and some volunteers have been there all that time. Mrs Rhodes said people typically volunteered for one weekly edition per month as either an editor, reader, technician or in distribution.

People can either listen online or have a USB stick with the recording sent out to them, which they then mail back for reuse afterwards. The Mardler's studio is at the Methodist church hall in White Hart Street, Aylsham, but it has been closed for much of the past year due to the pandemic. 

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Mrs Rhodes said the talking newspaper offered something its listeners could not find anywhere else. 

She said: "You can turn on the TV or radio and get some local news, but we bring them the little tidbits that they wouldn't otherwise hear. It's the things that you only see in local newspapers, and that's why papers like the North Norfolk News are so important to us all."

Mrs Rhodes said they had a particular need for editors, as there would be five at full strength but they were now down to two. 

Anybody who is interesting in volunteering or would like to learn more can call Mrs Rhodes on 01603 891755 or email chairman@mardler.org.uk, or see the website at www.mardler.org.uk.

The Mardler Talking studio space in Aylsham Methodist Church. Picture: Danielle Booden

The Mardler Talking Newspaper studio space in Aylsham Methodist Church. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

The Mardler Talking studio space in Aylsham Methodist Church. Picture: Danielle Booden

The Mardler Talking Newspaper studio space in Aylsham Methodist Church. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden


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