Margaret donates 90th birthday cash to Talking Books service

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Margaret Brown from Castledawson decided to ask for donations towards much loved RNIB’s Talking Books service in lieu of presents for her 90th birthday this year.

She and her family raised an amazing £300 towards the Mid Ulster Talking Book Challenge for the Royal National Institute of Blind people (RNIB).

Margaret has enjoyed Talking Books for many years since her central vision started to deteriorate due to age-related macular degeneration in her sixties. When her family suggested the alternative gift idea Margaret was delighted, saying: “That’s a great idea. Sure I don’t need anything!”

Irene, Margaret’s daughter said: “Friends and family were very generous and we had a lovely get together in the home for mum. Of course she got other little things as well, but mum really appreciated the donations towards RNIB.

“She’s had a lot of support from RNIB’s local Community Access Worker Jackie Cotton, and Mark Waterman from sensory support over the years, making sure she has anything to make life that bit easier and more enjoyable.

“She’s been stocked with Talking Books and newspapers, has a talking watch and clock and lots of other things they’ve suggested.

“She also really enjoyed attending the local Insight visually impaired group, facilitated by Jackie, for 
many years.

“I would have accompanied her on trips and dinners. She loved them. With her more limited mobility now she loves her talking books, particularly biographies in these later years, and listening to gospel music and speakers.”

Jackie Cotton, RNIB’s Community Access Worker for the Mid Ulster Area said: “We’re so grateful to Margaret, Irene and their family and friends for supporting the Mid Ulster Community Talking Book Challenge. In the past year we’ve seen a 38% increase in RNIB Talking Books subscribers so we know this service is in demand from people in the local community.

“Their donations will help us create even more books for people of all ages to enjoy for years to come.

“RNIB is committed to making every day better for blind and partially sighted people across Northern Ireland, but we simply can’t do it alone.

“Right now, we can only support one in three people affected by sight loss, but together, we can smash the barriers that stop people with sight loss thriving.”

If you’d like to join the community effort to sponsor RNIB Talking Books, don’t hesitate to contact RNIB NI’s Area Fundraising Manager Hazel Stirling on or 07879 435 231. For fundraising ideas, visit

To register to receive RNIB’s Talking Books call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit