IN the old church on Bridgwater Road in North Petherton, a group of volunteers will be reading aloud this very article for blind people across Bridgwater.

The team at the Bridgwater Talking Newspaper records news, stories and features from the Mercury for distribution to 50 blind or partially-sighted people, and they have just completed their milestone 250th edition.

The project started in April 2009 when the readers recorded on a single tape.

Nowadays, thanks to a grant from the Somerset Community Foundation, the operation is fully digital with recordings being delivered to the clients on USB memory sticks.

Richard Culverhouse, a founding member of the Bridgwater Talking Newspaper, said: “We started off with about 25 customers and we’ve more or less doubled since then.”

The recording sessions happen every Wednesday in North Petherton with about four people reading pieces from the Mercury.

Richard said: “It all takes about an hour. We don’t pretend to be the BBC but we will knock out stuff quickly.”

The Talking News is always looking both for new volunteers to read and more clients for the service, which is completely free.

Richard said: “We’ve met a lot of lovely people as a result. It’s nice to be able to do something like this.”

If you are interested in either reading or subscribing to the Bridgwater Talking Newspaper, call Richard on 01278-684390 or go to bridg|