Bromley news service for blind and partially sighted set for 2000th edition

News Shopper: Paulette Obee Paulette Obee

A news service for Bromley’s blind and partially sighted is soon to celebrate its 2000th edition.

Bromley District Talking News (BDTN), now based at a studio in Freelands Grove, will reach the milestone recording on Thursday July 3 after first airing way back in 1975.

The special show will feature memories from some of the first listeners as well as content from the first and 1000th broadcast, which hit the airwaves in 1994.

Judy De Haan, 74, said it’s a tremendous achievement and having been involved for just over a year, added she cannot believe the “extraordinary effort” of everyone involved.

She said: “I’m amazing by the dedication of all the volunteers – they’ve never missed a show.

“Everyone works so hard to keep it going. Over all these years it’s gone on and been great.”

Put out once a week, the programmes feature news, views, features, and a ‘what’s on’ supplement across London’s largest borough.

The first editions were made on cassette tapes in a Hayesford Park flat, where three readers sat at a table using a single microphone. As technology has evolved recordings are now copied on to memory sticks to be played digitally.

Run by local charity the BDTN Association, its president Paulette Obee praised the 87 volunteers who make it happen – made up of engineers, researchers, editors, readers, and others.

She said: “When recording this special edition, don’t forget to raise a glass and toast yourselves, and have faith that the organisation will continue to keep members in touch with the community for years to come.”

One of the very first listeners, Jeanette Page, said she remembers everything from “exciting stories to historical documentaries” when tuned in.

She also mentioned the importance of fundraising and added BDTN relies heavily on donations and legacies to continue.

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