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Talking newspaper founder awarded posthumous MBE

A man who founded a talking newspaper association to bring the news to blind and partially-sighted people has been awarded an MBE just weeks after his death.

Michael Finch founded the East Surrey Talking Newspaper Association in 1977 for residents in Reigate and Banstead in Surrey, so they could receive recordings of local news stories.

He died on 29 May after a battle with cancer but has now been named an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the East Surrey Talking Newspaper Association and to the Reigate community.

The Talking Newspaper was set up by Michael after he was inspired by a talk to the Reigate Rotary Club during the year in which he was their president.

Every fortnight, the editor of the association selects stories from local papers, mainly the Surrey Mirror, and these are recorded by volunteer readers.

A digital file of the stories is created and these are copied onto memory sticks and posted to recipients.

His wife Mary told the Surrey Mirror after his death: “He felt there was a need for it. People who were old or blind were feeling cut off. Our spare room used to be full of these tape recorders because they would always go wrong.”

Michael owned a radio and TV shop in Reigate and was involved in many community groups, including being a deacon at Reigate Park Church for more than 50 years.