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Regional daily claims UK first with new regular columnists

Dorset columnistsA regional daily has launched what it believes to be a UK first by giving a regular column to writers with learning disabilities.

The Dorset Echo has begun publishing its ‘Our View’ column, which will run every Tuesday, in association with charity People First Dorset.

The charity supports those with learning disabilities and two of the people it supports, Adam Kelly and William Parmiter, pictured above left, will write the column.

They will be helped in editing by Laura Kerr, project manager of the charity’s Friendship Club, which organises social events for adults in Dorset with learning disabilities.

The first column, published in Tuesday’s edition of the Echo, introduced the pair to the newspaper’s readers.

Editor Diarmuid MacDonagh welcomed the new initiative.

He said: “At the Echo we are always looking at ways to better represent the community we serve.

“I am delighted to have Adam and William writing for us.

“They have proven themselves to be thoughtful, witty and popular writers with our audience and I hope all our readers will enjoy reading their insights into an important part of our community that has sadly been hitherto at best under-represented and at worst completely ignored.”

The pair thanked the Dorset Echo for their new opportunity.

Said Adam: “It’s wonderful. Now we can have a voice through the medium of these columns.

“Thank you Dorset Echo for acknowledging we are all equal.”

William added: “As far as we know, it’s the first regular column written by anyone with a learning disability in the United Kingdom, so we are really excited to get this opportunity.”