Peebles Community smashes target, raising £5,000 for ‘talking books’ for the blind

Peebles has become the first town in the UK to sponsor a ‘Talking Book’ together as a community for people with sight loss.

Over £5,000 has been raised for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to produce two new titles for its free library service, which provides one million audio-books a year to people who have difficulty reading standard print.  

Local businesses – including Forsyth’s, Harrison’s, Peebles Life, Rogerson’s, and Higgins Opticians – were all involved in the initiative, along with groups such as School’s Out, Peebles and District Round Table, Peebles Rotary, and the Circle of Friends.

Angela Preston, RNIB’s area fundraising manager for East Scotland, said: “The Peebles community has been absolutely fantastic. From day one they embraced the challenge. Local businesses have been very happy to support us, while the children at School’s Out took part in a variety of challenges to raise funds, including a blindfold obstacle course. The Rotary Club and Round Table were also totally on board making very generous donations. One lady donated because of the difference RNIB Talking Books has made to her life.”

Local optometrist Linda Quinn took part in a sponsored challenge wearing glasses that simulate sight loss while navigating her way around town. She is now galvanising the community to fundraise for a new children’s Talking Book as well. The launch of this initiative will be a Sparkling Afternoon Tea at the Tontine Hotel on Sunday, 29th January. “With 70 guests already coming along, and her five year-old daughter Ciara as the ambassador for this project, we are sure that it won’t be too long before Peebles is celebrating another success,” said Ms Preston.

The two new Talking Books for adults to be recorded will be ‘Dreamstreets: A Journey Through Britain’s Village Utopia’ by Jaqueline Yalllop and ‘The Unseeing’ by Anna Mazola. 

Those who donated have been invited to record a dedication on behalf of the Peebles community which will be played at the start of the audio-books each time they are downloaded. 

Ms Preston said: “For over 80 years, RNIB’s Talking Books service has created a lifeline to the outside world. Thanks to the support of the Peebles community we can keep expanding our library, making sure people with sight loss don’t miss out on the joy of a good book.

“If you’ve been inspired by the team from Peebles, you, too, can get involved and sponsor a Talking Book. Simply visit www.rnib.org.uk/sponsortalkingbooks and get started today!” 

Individuals, community groups and businesses can sponsor a Talking Book by setting up a JustGiving page with a target of £2,500 for an adult book or £1,500 for a children’s book. 

Linda