It’s 40 years, almost to the day, since the Lisburn Leo Talking Newspaper recorded its first local weekly news bulletin for the area’s blind or partially sighted residents.
On October 22, 1976, this, Lisburn’s local weekly newspaper, announced the project under the headline ‘Tune in to the Ulster Star’.
The article explained how members of the Lisburn Leo Club (a junior branch of the,now defunct Lisburn Lion’s Club, raised some £2,000 to fund the brainchild of Mrs Mildred Dugan, herself visually impaired.
Mildred wanted to provide a “talking newspaper” for the benefit of the visually impaired members of the community in the Lisburn area.
This week a spokesperson for the Talking Newspaper said: “Needless to say, people will recognise this as the inspiration for many other talking newspapers around the Province.
“Over the past 40 years volunteers have given their time, week in, week out, to record, copy and send out the weekly news, drawn from the pages of The Ulster Star, to our listeners, with whom there is a close affinity.
“Lisburn Leo have progressed down the years from tapes to CDs.
“They have also been joined by some ladies of the Lisburn Branch of Soroptimists International, all in the thrust of their main purpose, to bring the local news from the pages of The Ulster Star, in the local area, to those who have difficulty in reading the printed medium.
“Although the founder members are no longer with the Lisburn Leo, there is great pride to have a continuing family connection with those involved in the early years.
“Reggie Barr was a past Chairman and Treasurer of the Lisburn Leo, and his daughter, Ann Noble, today also reads the news and carries out the duties of Secretary for the Lisburn Leo, maintaining that family tie.
“Many happy returns to all thelisteners and volunteers of the Lisburn Leo.”