In 1986 Dorking Deepdene Rotary club held a public meeting to assess the need for a talking newspaper, based on the Dorking Advertiser, for the area. As a result, Rotarian Peter Wills set up and chaired a steering committee which, by late 1987, had raised funds to buy the equipment and set a date to produce the first recording.
An introductory tape was made on cassette and sent out to the listeners, by Royal Mail, on 18th February 1988. This tape included instructions on how the service would be operated and a welcome message from Kenneth Baker, then the MP for Mole Valley. The next week this was followed by the first recording and on 22nd February 2018 we celebrated 30 years of weekly recordings.
Over the 30 years only a couple of editions have been missed, once when the duplicating equipment failed and once when heavy snow prevented the team getting together to do the recording. A postal strike threatened an early edition but the recording went ahead and the tapes were hand delivered by volunteers.
Each Thursday 8 volunteers, drawn from the team of 55, gather to edit, read, record and duplicate the paper for distribution to the listeners. The copies are taken to the Post Office and are usually delivered to the listeners on Saturday morning.
The recordings were initially copied on to cassette tapes. In 2009 digital production was introduced and the listeners now receive the recording on a USB memory stick. Special USB players are supplied to the listeners who need them.