IN these days of digital technology where people read in an increasing variety of ways, a magazine set up nearly 40 years ago is continuing to thrive. Ryedale Talking Magazine was founded in 1981 when a group of people, including David Baxendale, who was head teacher at Lady Lumley’s School in Pickering, came up with the idea of recording a magazine for the blind or partially-sighted.

David’s wife Jennifer, who was also a member of Pickering Amateur Dramatic Society broached the subject with fellow members and a committee was formed.

Tom Holliday became chairman, Lorna Woodroffe, secretary, Brian Crawley, treasurer and Philip Tytheridge, editor.

Current secretary Val Bulidon explained that at first things were done on an ad-hoc basis before Ryedale Talking Magazine was registered as a charity.

“Following publicity in the Gazette & Herald, more readers came forward.

“Again at first, readers made their own recordings on their own equipment at home or two or three met together at someone’s house to make recordings, many of which had doorbells and telephones ringing in the background, not to mention grandfather clocks chiming and dogs barking.”

One or two early magazine tapes were produced involving sixth formers at Lady Lumley’s School, but the group realised there was a need for better recording equipment.

Val said: “Fundraising began and wonderful help came from Ryedale Lions who organised a pram race in Malton, raising sufficient funds to enable the Lions to make a very generous donation of £2,000 to Ryedale Talking Magazine - a major contribution to getting us up and running.”

Val said recording venues had changed over the years but usually happened in readers’ homes.

“We now have a circle of about 20 readers, who come along as often as they can on the morning of the second Thursday of the month to record a reading of about 10 minutes which they have chosen themselves, so we benefit from a range of voices and subject matters,” she said.

“We have usually found that if the readings have interested the readers, the listeners have also found them enjoyable.

“We have been fortunate to benefit from donations and grants from various sources, as well as our own fundraising efforts.

“The talking magazine is now produced in CD version and we have a small stock of portable CD players which we can make available to listeners if the need arises.”

The group has always respected the original plan of “no politics or religion” and editor Martin Redgard varies both the subjects and voices on each CD.

Val said they now send out just over 50 CDs each month to listeners in Ryedale and the surrounding areas.

“We do get feedback from our listeners telling us how much they have enjoyed particular items and requesting more or less of certain subjects which is very valuable for us,” she said.

“Although we have moved with the times, our aim is still to provide interest and entertainment.”

The Ryedale Talking Magazine is a free service with no fee or subscription.

The CD is posted out freepost by Royal Mail in the first week of the month and returned in the last week of the month, again by freepost.

New listeners receive a welcome letter and an additional sample CD with their first CD.

If you know someone who may like to receive the magazine, phone Val on 01751 476499.