by Greta Yeoman
Colin Scarsbrook has hung up the phone after 15 years’ volunteering for the Telephone Information Service.
The Timaru resident was one of the service’s first three volunteers, whose voices members of the Timaru Blind Foundation would hear when they rang up to hear the morning’s news.
The Telephone Information Service (TIS) is staffed by volunteers across the country, who read the morning’s headlines, births, deaths and marriages and editorials.
These local stories are then able to be heard by blind or visually impaired residents via phone lines in various districts, Mr Scarsbrook said.
“[It has been] very popular with Blind Foundation members,” he said.
Mr Scarsbrook, who has been the co-ordinator for the Timaru service for many years, estimated about 24 people in Timaru, Waimate, Geraldine and other parts of South Canterbury called the service daily.
His dedication to the service was recognised during a meeting at the Blind Foundation’s Grey Rd clubrooms on Wednesday last week, where he received a certificate and bottle of wine.
Mr Scarsbrook said he was retiring from his TIS role “with some reluctance” but after 15 years he felt “bringing in someone new” might give the scheme some new life and ideas.
He estimated there were about 15 readers all up in Timaru and about three readers per day reading the headlines.
New readers were always welcome, he said.
“It’s pretty simple to do.”
For more information on the Telephone Information Service or to volunteer, visit blindfoundation.org.nz; call the Blind Foundation on 0800 24-33-33, option 1; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.