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About Us - The First Edition
Page 2 of 4
Clifford Rathbone

The first Editor of the Macclesfield Talking Newspaper
Equipment was now in situ, readers were recruited, "dummy runs" and rehearsals had taken place. The Macclesfield Lions delivered and demonstrated play-back machines to the sixty listeners who had indicated that they would like to receive this service.

On Thursday 4th April 1974 the first edition of the Macclesfield and District Talking Newspaper was produced. It was the first in the North West of England.

Unfortunately that very week, workers at the Macclesfield Express went on strike, leaving the editorial team of the Talking Newspaper to race around the town searching out stories for themselves, with the assistance of some of the Express journalists.

Nevertheless this first edition was crammed with interesting items. Along with news and local events there were messages of congratulation from local civic leaders, comedian Mike Yarwood (then living in Prestbury) mimicked lighthearted messages from the Prime Minister Harold Wilson, plus a host of political and show business personalities.
The Talking Newspaper was now a reality. Editor Clifford Rathbone soon took over the running of the entire newspaper with help from a committee representing each aspect of the operation, including newsreaders, technicians, tape duplicators, administrators and of course, blind and partially sighted listeners.

Interest had proved so great that Clifford considered gathering together further volunteers to produce separate editions for Congleton and Handforth/Wilmslow as it was difficult to do justice to such a wide area on only 90 minutes of tape. However local groups, inspired by Macclesfield's success, planned to set up their own local Talking Newspapers.

Our customer base grew so much that the number of listeners had nearly doubled in the first nine months of operation. Cheshire County Council made a grant of £1000 which paid for the extra tape players and a local firm, FMK, donated the cost of extra duplicating machines (£600+).