The talk given by Mrs Pat Farrer to the local Milford Haven Probus Group made such an impression on Ex. Comp. Peter Gregory that he decided to bring it to the attention of Kensington Chapter the extreme difficulties that the Talking Mercury were working under.
You may well consider that such an important service to those with visual impairment would be high on the agendas of both our National Government and Pembrokeshire County Councils priority list however the picture is far from rosy since Milford Haven Talking Mercury does not receive assistance in any shape or form from either of the above.
Forty-seven individuals who are either blind or partially sighted rely on the Milford Talking Mercury. Although visually impaired people can listen to radio news for many it does not provide the depth of analysis found in newspapers hence the transfer of this information onto a medium that can be listened to and repeated in the privacy of one’s own home provides an invisible lifeline which keeps them up to date with events that occur in their locality.
The first talking newspaper was launched in Wales in 1970 and today there are some 400 groups across the UK sending out recordings to 100,000 listeners. The Western Telegraph did have a scheme in Haverfordwest however Mrs Pat Farrer who hails from Hakin decided that Milford Haven needed their own newspaper and twenty-three years ago formed the group now known as Milford Talking Mercury.
Mrs Farrer, who lost her sight when she was thirteen years old, together with Mrs Elizabeth Bearne, Mrs Susan Norman, Mrs Pam Fisher and Mr Peter Phillips now meet every Thursday morning in St Katharine’s Church Hall to prepare and record all local news from the Milford Mercury on to a system of small memory sticks which are then distributed free by Royal Mail to those suffering with visual impairment or a stroke. Indeed one individual who recently moved to Oxford still receives this service.
The Groups aim is to establish a close relationship with all those suffering sight loss in Milford Haven. They undertake this important task to ensure that the high demand for local news content in audio is provided to all that need it and ensures that these individuals are kept informed about events occurring in their community by what they describe as a friend being delivered through the letterbox every week.
The question is how do you stay up-to-date with news if you can't see the words on a page? The answer a memory stick that does not need to be plugged into a computer as it can be used in an MP3 player designed for use by people with visual impairments. They do however deteriorate with age and need replacing indeed with each of the multi-channel USB recording interfaces costing over £1000 it was obvious that the £ 500 donation made by the members of Kensington Chapter 366 would provide a much need lifeline to this worthy group of individuals who give up their time and use their own personal resources to provide this vital service free to the visually impaired section of Milford Havens community.
The £500 cheque was presented by Ex Comp Stephen McGarvie (MEZ) Ex Comp Peter Gregory (Treasurer) and Ex Comp John Prior.
Should further details regarding this service be required please contact Ex Comp Peter Gregory on 01646 695147.