RNIB flagship Talking Books service boosted by £450,000 legacy gift

Post date: 
Tuesday, 24 May 2022

A flagship service in the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) received a generous funding boost after a legacy of almost half a million pounds was donated to the charity.

The donation of just under £450,000 from Doreen Gough from Gipton in Leeds will benefit RNIB’s Talking Books service. The money was presented to RNIB at the charity’s Talking Books recording studio in Camden by her long-standing friend and executor of her estate, Reverend Diane Lofthouse.

Doreen’s husband Derek had sight loss and was a keen user of RNIB’s Talking Books service. He passed away a long time before his wife and she wanted to acknowledge how RNIB had helped her husband to enjoy reading again by donating her whole estate to the charity.  

Diane said: “Derek and Doreen were such a lovely couple. They loved each other’s company and especially enjoyed reading. Doreen told me how Derek felt a bit lost when his sight started to deteriorate and that he was delighted when he discovered RNIB’s Talking Books.

“Doreen always remembered how Talking Books helped Derek enjoy reading again and the couple would often listen to a book together. It was because of this that Doreen made the decision to donate her estate to RNIB and I am so pleased to fulfil her final wish. I hope that this money will give other people with sight loss the chance to enjoy many books for years to come.”

RNIB’s Head of Legacy Fundraising, Lorna McPherson-Reed said: “Over one third of our work is only made possible thanks to the generosity and kindness of people like Doreen, who choose to leave gifts in their Will.

“We are so grateful to Doreen for this wonderful donation. RNIB believes no child or adult should be held back due to their sight loss and knows how reading helps build the skills and confidence needed to participate fully in life.”

The generous legacy will be used to fund three new RNIB recording studio pods and one of these pods will be named ‘The Gough Pod’ in Doreen and Derek’s memory. The money will also go towards an ambitious public library engagement project, aimed at raising awareness of RNIB’s library of 40,000 books, and how they can be accessed digitally, within public libraries across the UK.

During the visit to RNIB’s Talking Books studio, Diane and her daughter Angela also had the opportunity to narrate a children’s book. The book is called Omar, the Bees and Me by author Helen Mortimer and is already part of RNIB’s Talking Books library, with a dedication to Derek and Doreen at the start.

A gift in your Will could help support blind and partially sighted people of all ages build the skills they need – for life. Anyone can pass on something wonderful like Doreen by leaving a gift in their Will, and even a small amount can make a huge impact. With our free, accessible Will writing services it’s easy and simple too.  

Find out more by visiting rnib.org.uk/legacy or email [email protected]

Notes to editors

All media enquiries to RNIB’s PR team on 0207 391 2223 or [email protected] or for urgent enquiries out-of-hours, please call 07968 482812.

RNIB has been making Talking Books since 1935, opening up the world of reading for blind and partially sighted people. There are currently almost 37,000 Talking Books in the library, which are enjoyed by approximately 62,000 people. Some library users have described RNIB’s Talking Books service as “a lifeline” and said it helps reduce loneliness and isolation. RNIB’s Amazon smart speaker Talking Book skill, which launched in August 2021 has had 1.8 million utterances from users.

About RNIB

We are the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

Every six minutes, someone in the UK begins to lose their sight. RNIB is taking a stand against exclusion, inequality, and isolation to create a world without barriers where people with sight loss can lead full lives. A different world where society values blind and partially sighted people not for the disabilities they’ve overcome, but for the people they are.

RNIB. See differently.

Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit www.rnib.org.uk