A vital voluntary service that helps Swindon residents with sight difficulties 'read' the local newspaper has celebrated its 40th year. 

Swindon and District Talking Newspaper, affectionately known as STAN, records spoken versions of news articles for their blind and partially sighted listeners. 

To commemorate the occasion it held an afternoon tea for listeners and volunteers at Blunsdon House Hotel last weekend.

Those who attended were treated to a talk from special guest speaker Dr. Tanvir Bush who spoke of her own retinitis pigmentosa diagnosis at age 19 and shared her insight into how this had affected her life. 

Mike Wood, STAN's chairman, said “It was lovely to bring together today some of our volunteers and listeners to celebrate our 40th anniversary; and it was particularly heart-warming to have Dr Bush here to share her story with us.

Swindon Advertiser: Mike Wood, Chairman of STAN with Dr Tanvir Bush, guest speaker for the eventMike Wood, Chairman of STAN with Dr Tanvir Bush, guest speaker for the event "Had it not have been for volunteers agreeing to continue to volunteer and then issue the Talking News over the internet through the Covid lockdowns, we would likely not be here today."

News from the Swindon Advertiser as well as sport and local history is recorded fortnightly and then distributed via USB stick directly to listeners, or played on the organisation's webpage. 

They are always looking for more listeners and volunteers, and are especially interested in volunteers who may be able to help them continue to fundraise.

If you are interested in volunteering to help the service please call 01793 522511 or email stan@swindontalkingnews.org.uk