News date: 5th Jul 2017 – Annual General Meeting

WDTN AGM held on Thursday 15th June 2017

Acting Chairman Paul Blunt welcomed everyone to the meeting and gave a special welcome to Our Honorary President The Mayor Councillor Paul Bell and the Mayoress Carol Bell and to our special quests Alex Lomman (CEO NAB)   and Barbara Allebone (Daughter of our late Vice Chairman Peggy Hooton)  The meeting was well attended and saw the inauguration of WDTN’s  New Officers and Committee Members who are as follows:


New Chairman – Graham West, new Vice Chairman – Cera Wilkins, Treasurer – Paul Blunt and our new Secretary – Serena Handcock shown below.



Past Secretary Ann Boucher, Simon Bisgrove, Michael Webb,  Christine George,    Lynn Sparrow, Simon Turner, and a welcome  new member – Trevor Handcock.

Ian Rowse, our Tuesday Despatch Manager who stands down from the Committee this year, introduced his two new Volunteers, Laurence Padbury and Paul Jones who take on the job of distributing the USB players to new listeners. Christine George and Ruel McDowall have also now joined the Tuesday despatch Team.

There were greetings from The Worshipful The Mayor of Wellingborough Councillor Paul Bell and he thanked everyone present for inviting him and his Mayoress to the AGM and for the warm welcome extended to them both, he said it was an honour to be WDTN’s Honorary President, he thanked everyone for all their hard work, which had been highlighted in the given reports, and in bringing heartfelt  joy to all the many listeners and for all the dedication of our volunteers.

Paul especially asked our Chairman to pass on his thanks and best wishes to Ann for all the years’ service that she and Chris had given. He concluded by wishing continued success to WDTN and said long may the work continue.

Heartfelt tributes were afforded to our Late Chairman Chris Boucher, and our Late Vice Chairman Peggy Hooton. Two very dedicated members of many years standing, they will be sorely missed by all.  Peggy’s Daughter Barbara addressed the meeting and thanked everyone for the kind messages of condolence that her family had received, she mentioned that her mother had always worked tirelessly for WDTN and many other organisations during her lifetime. Barbara also passed over various items that she had found whilst sorting through her mother’s papers and kindly gave them to us so that we could have a record of the past, these papers are indeed valuable archive material.

A final statement from Acting Chairman Paul Blunt who stated that our thoughts are with our dear friend Ann Boucher who has stalwartly occupied the post of Secretary over the last 6 years, she and Chris made a splendid team.  Paul told the meeting that Ann has not been well over the last few weeks and will arrange for some flowers to be sent from the Committee and all Volunteers of Wellingborough Talking Newspaper in gratitude for all the hard work she carried out during her time as Secretary

The meeting ended at 8.45 and refreshments were served.

News date: 20th June  2017 –Tribute to Peggy Hooton 29.09.1928 ~ 21.04.2017



Traditionally, the title of Honorary President of the Wellingborough and District Talking Newspaper for the Blind has been given to the incumbent mayor of the Borough of Wellingborough. So it was that in the year 1985-86, when Derek Hooton became Mayor of Wellingborough, and our Honorary President, his wife, Peggy Hooton the Mayoress also took a keen interest in the project.

In 1989 Peggy was invited to become Chairman of WDTN and presided in that position until 2013 when she stepped down in favour of Chris Boucher. Peggy then succeeded to the roll of Vice Chairman, a position she held until 2017.

Some years ago WDTN hosted an annual Christmas Party at the Embankment Club and Peggy would be involved in the organization for this event.

Peggy was a very caring person and enjoyed being involved in many projects within the community of Wellingborough and District.

She was Founder Chairman for ARC, now known as Arthritis U.K. and was also Secretary for some time. She was a Governor at The Avenue School and also chair of governors at Park Junior School where an award in her name is given annually to a pupil for achievement. She also sat on the parole board for young offenders at the Wellingborough Prison and was a Poppy Appeal collector for 35 years, for which she received a long service award.

She was a member and Past President of the Inner Wheel Club of Wellingborough and was given The Margarette Golding Award for services to the community. She was a Founder Member and Past Chairman and Secretary of Wellingborough Anglo Polish Society for over 40 years. With her husband, Derek she was also involved with the Scouts and the Army Benevolent Society and for many years organized a band concert and sherry party in the Drill Hall in Wellingborough raising funds for the ABF which is now known as the Soldiers Charity.

The Wellingborough and District Talking Newspaper was privileged to have received the support and dedication from Peggy and she will be remembered with affection and thanks.



News date: 20th January 2017 –Tribute to our Chairman, Franklin Christopher Boucher.   26.08.1936 – 02.01.2017

Our Chairman, Chris passed away peacefully on 2nd January 2017.
He was multi talented, generous and compassionate and a true gentleman remembered with respect and affection.

His decision to become involved with the Wellingborough and District Talking Newspaper for the Blind WDTN could well have been the embryo of an idea started when he was a 19 year old student at university in London, when he spotted a request for volunteers to repair Talking Book machines for blind and partially sighted people and enrolled.
In those early days he would hop on a bus armed only with a screwdriver in order to mend their machine and bring back pleasure.

This voluntary help he gave unstintingly for more than 60 years and in 2015 he was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list in recognition of his devoted and very long dedication to a cause so dear to his heart. At the time of his death, this one aspect of his caring nature had stretched to an unbroken 61 years, which must be a record. Additionally, he was County co-ordinator for repairs of these machines in two counties for a total of 42 years.

Allied to this his connection with the WDTN also stretched over 20 years.
Initially involved as a substitute reader by Heather Edwards, he then learned to become a recording engineer.  In this dual capacity he continued to contribute to the monthly WDTN “Countywide” magazine programme, together with his beloved wife Ann, for over twenty years until December 2016.

He was invited to attend a Committee Meeting in January 2011 to discuss ageing equipment in the studio and joined the Committee at the next meeting, later becoming Vice Chairman, and then Chairman, a post he held until his death.

Chris led us into the 21st Century and the digital age by upgrading our recordings on old fashioned Cassette Tapes to CDs, and finally to digital USB Memory sticks. This required substantial investment in state of the art digital recording and multi copying equipment.

Possible relocation of the studio to other less expensive premises was discussed in the autumn of 2013, and the decision to move to the current studio was taken in January 2014.   This involved a huge amount of detailed planning work in the transition, to move all the equipment and set it up again in the new premises, and also renovating the old studio to the level required by the Council.   Funding for all of this had to be found, and this and the practicalities of the transfer were carried out under the Chairmanship of Chris.

The actual move took place early in June and was achieved without any break in the weekly recordings for the listeners. The extensive restoration work at the old studio was achieved by November 2014, and considerable additional soundproofing work was added to the new studio, which was officially opened by the Mayor of Wellingborough in July 2014.


News date: 7th July 2016 – AGM – Secretary’s Report

The report details our achievements to date.  Thank you very much to our team of volunteers and committee members for all the hard work you do.  To see the report click here!


News date: 28th March 2016 – WDTN news archiving

WDTN have recently presented Wellingborough Museum with our news recording masters for approximately the last 15 years which they have agreed to store in their archives.

The earlier recordings which date from our formation in 1979 are already in the museum’s collection.  It was interesting to see the results of introducing modern technology.  10 years of news recordings required over 500 cassettes, while the recordings of the last 4 years, since we changed to digital were all contained on 5 DVD’s.  This means that our archives will require very little space in the museum from now on.


News date: 3rd January 2016 – B E M for  Graham

Graham recording the news

Congratulations to Graham McInnes, one of our recording engineers who was awarded a British Empire Medal in the 2016 New Year’s honours list.  The award was made for Graham’s work with church music as well as his involvement with WDTN. Graham has been one of our engineers recording the news once a month since 1995.


News date: 12th  November 2015 – Visit of H.M. Lord – Lieutenant

Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for Northamptonshire, Mr. David Laing visited our studio on Thursday 12th November.  After meeting the Committee and seeing a demonstration of the process of recording and dispatching the news, he made his own recording which was subsequently sent to all Talking Newspaper members throughout the county.

He explained how he became Lord-Lieutenant and what duties the job entailed.


News date: 11th October 2015 – Mayor’s Christmas Message

WDTN are pleased to announce that we have received a donation of £500 from the Mayors charity fund.   Mr Jim Bass who was mayor during 2014/5 officially opened the new studio as well as recording a Christmas message for our listeners.  We are very grateful to him for including Wellingborough Talking Newspaper as one of the beneficiaries of his charity fund.


News date: 26th July 2015 – Annual General Meeting

The AGM which was held on Thursday 25th June was attended by The Mayor and Mayoress, Councillor and Mrs Barry Graves and 20 of our members.  The report given by the Secretary is as follows:-


The year has been a period of consolidation following the move of the studio from Park Road to the Belgrade Centre and we were delighted to welcome the Mayor and Mayoress to the official opening of the studio on 11th July. Thanks to Anthony Shemilt’s contacts and the generosity of Graham West at the Belgrade Centre, we are now comfortably operating from our new studio at approximately one third of the rent we were previously paying and with excellent disabled access.

A great deal of work was required to achieve this, not least in refurbishing the old studio to the condition required by our old landlords on the termination of the lease. Amongst others those helping with this project include Anthony Shemilt, David Sparrow, Ian Rouse, Brian Bailey, John Chapman, Jack Werner and Chris and Ann Boucher.

The recording booth in the new studio was initially found to be lacking in sound insulation, but an acoustic report was commissioned and largely implemented which has very much improved the situation. Our thanks are due to Richard Goodliffe who carried out the investigation and prepared the report free of charge. We should also thank Mike Webb and his family who donated both the recording booth and an air conditioning unit which will make recording much more pleasant in summer.

To raise money to help pay for our running costs we held two collections in the Swansgate centre in Wellingborough in the last twelve months. On 18th October last year we raised £484.19 and on 16th May this year the total was £480. On both occasions our main attractions were our beautiful guide dogs and their owners and we are very grateful to everyone who helped us. We already have a booking for another Swansgate collection later this year on 7th November and will be looking for assistance nearer the time. Everyone who helps us says that they find it a rewarding experience, so please volunteer when the time comes.

In a further attempt to raise funds and to publicise WTN, Simon Turner and Chris Boucher manned a stall at the conker championship in October and had a very successful day, with the sale of inflatable toys and a competition involving a model train. Over £100 was raised and the championship committee donated a further £100 to WTN.

Once again our database has been kept up to date most efficiently by Jack Werner. Membership has remained fairly constant at 109, but this includes 10 day centres and care homes where a single memory stick can be played to over 20 listeners. Our client age range is from 27 to 99 with 22 members over 90. The geographical spread of our members is 48 in Wellingborough, 21 in Rushden and the remainder spread throughout the surrounding villages. In addition, Jack Werner and Simon Bisgrove both gave generously of their time and technical expertise to update our WTN website, and we are most grateful to both of them.

Capitalizing on the improved capacity of memory sticks as opposed to CD’s or cassettes we are attempting to extend our magazine recordings in addition to the news. We continue to exchange our magazines with Northampton, Kettering and Bedford, but in addition we have decided to subscribe to the RNIB service which enables us to download a number of national magazines. Our thanks are due to Jack Werner who spends a great amount of time transcribing all these magazines for use on memory sticks.

We are pleased to report that we now have a waiting list of volunteers to read the news. We have also successfully recruited two new recording engineers. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our volunteers for their magnificent work during the year. Since there are more than 50 I cannot mention them all by name, but I would like to thank two people who put in a great deal of time. Simon Turner ensures that there are readers/engineers and news items every week while Ian Rowse and his assistants ensure that the memory sticks are dispatched every Tuesday.

Around the bigger projects, the routine work of WTN continues on a steady basis and I have been very grateful for the support of all the committee, but in particular to my husband Chris for his unfailing help and support, without which far less would have been achieved.

Ann Boucher



News date: 18th March 2015

News Item 1. Donation

Many thanks to a local dramatic group which has donated £254.20 to our funds. We have also been left a legacy of £1000 by one of our listeners who died recently.

News Item 2. Extra magazine

We now subscribe to the RNIB magazine service which means that we can download a selection of articles for our listeners. This means that on most weeks we will be able to offer our listeners two magazines instead of one. This will compensate for the lack of local news which has caused us problems since the Evening Telegraph switched to weekly publication. The changeover to digital recording using memory sticks, which WDTN carried out in 2012 provided us with the additional required capacity.


News date: 6th February 2015 – Donation

We are very grateful to the Ashton Conker festival committee who have donated £100 from the proceeds of their 2014 event to WDTN.   This is in addition to the money we raised from our own stall at the event.


News date: 1st January 2015 – B E M for the Chairman.

We offer heartiest congratulations to our Chairman, Mr Franklin Christopher Boucher, BEM, TD who was today awarded the British Empire Medal in the 2015 New Year Honours List in recognition of 58 years service to the RNIB and 22 years to Talking Newspapers for the Blind.
His other decoration of TD stands for Territorial Decoration which was awarded to him in 1970 for long service in the Territorial Army.



News date: 22nd December 2014 – Mayor’s Christmas Recording

The Worshipful Mayor of Wellingborough Councillor Jim Bass, recorded a Christmas message from the Borough, which was sent out to the listeners with the recording just before the holiday.   In this recording he stressed the close contacts between the council and local charities, as well as passing on his seasons greetings.



News date: 4th November 2014 – Lloyds Bank Community Fund.

We are pleased to announce that we have been awarded £2000 from the local Lloyds Bank Community Fund. We were initially very lucky to be selected as one of four local charities who would all receive an award depending on the number of votes received in a ballot conducted both by the internet and in the local bank branches.

The results were:-  % of vote             Award
Cynthia Spencer Hospice 39.7% £3000
 WDTN 26% £2000
Northampton Search & Rescue 23.2% £1000
The Daylight Centre Fellowship  11.1% £500

Many thanks to Mike Webb who submitted our bid and to all our volunteers who contacted all their friends and relatives asking them to cast their vote for us. As a result of this and other recent donations, the move of studio is now fully financed with a surplus to meet current running costs.


News date:  31st October 2014   –Opening Ceremony of our new Recording Studio

opening new studio
opening ceremony


On October 31st we formally relinquished the lease on our old studio and our landlord has accepted that we have no outstanding obligations.  On 11th July, the Mayor Councillor Jim Bass accompanied by the Lady Mayoress formally opened our new studio at the Belgrade Centre.


News date:  12th October 2014  – World Conker Festival,  Oundle.

raising funds

For the first time in more than 10 years, WDTN had a stall at the World Conker Festival on October 12th.  All profits from this event are donated to charities for the blind and we have been fortunate enough to benefit in the past.  Our stall featured car racing, a train game and the sale of inflatable toys, and made a profit of £106.28 in addition to any donation from the overall profits from the event which we may receive later.

News date: 10th October 2014 –   Goodbye to our old studio.

WDTN are pleased to announce that the final stage of their move to the new studio in the Belgrade Centre at 64, Denington Road is now complete. The agents for our Landlord Wellingborough Council have agreed that all the work necessary at the old studio in Park Road to bring it back to an acceptable condition has now been completed. Many thanks to our volunteers who undertook many of the tasks such as painting and preparing the floor for a carpet in order to minimise the cost of this work.