Free service that allows blind and partially sighted people to enjoy local newspapers backed by Mayor of Ely

Mayor of Ely Councillor Richard Hobbs plans to use his remaining days as mayor to promote and raise

Mayor of Ely Councillor Richard Hobbs plans to use his remaining days as mayor to promote and raise awareness of the Fenprobe Talking News service. PHOTO: Mike Rouse - Credit: Archant

A service that offers blind and partially sighted people the chance to listen to their local newspaper is being backed by Mayor of Ely, Councillor Richard Hobbs, the president for Fenprobe.

The Fenprobe Talking News service, founded 40-years-ago by Stretham man, Tony May, who lost his sight in his 30s, is a free service that sends an audio recording of local news to blind and partially sighted people.

After suffering with depression and relying on his wife to read him the local news, Mr May launched the talking news charity, with the first tape going out to around a dozen people in East Cambridgeshire during Christmas of 1978.

Mayor of Ely, Cllr Hobbs, has just days until he is no longer mayor, but says he will use the remaining time to “reach out and bring the service to the notice of blind and sight impaired people, their families and friends”.

Cllr Hobbs has been associated with Fenprobe since a young boy, helping his father, Maurice Hobbs, an ex Mayor of Ely and the first president of Fenprobe, with his mother Joyce.

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A spokesman said: “Throughout the next forty years the weekly recorded news, produced by around forty dedicated volunteers working on a five-week rotation, have sent the news, at first on a cassette and since 2011 on a memory stick, to many satisfied listeners.”

The charity relies entirely on the kind donations from listeners, friends, public bodies, organisations and firms.

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