I have volunteered for charities for many years but for the last 20 plus I have volunteered for Living Paintings. I first became involved having met Alison, our founder, in a swimming pool! During our rather breathless conversations I heard about Living Paintings and wanted to contribute, by that I meant a donation! However, I was drawn in – Alison had the priceless gift of inspiring people to volunteer. My first responsibilities involved rubber stamping “Copyright” on the thermoforms. I’m glad to say I was promoted fairly soon and rose to the heady heights of actually pressing the thermoforms, something I did for many years.
In the course of my time with Living Paintings I have worked in almost every area – in the library, in the office but mostly in production – helping to make and assemble the Touch to See books. Apart from the thermoform pressing I have helped with all aspects of assembling the packs starting with making up the cardboard boxes, through to packing the thermoforms and colour images, until finally putting on the lid ready for the library.
Over the years my husband has also become entangled in the Living Paintings web! He has helped in many practical ways – including general DIY but he has also produced some of the master art works for our packs.
We’ve come a long way since those early days. For example we now put the audio on CDs and library members, volunteers and friends can keep up to date with the daily goings and interact via Twitter, Facebook and the website!
These days I still assist with production and repairs of damaged books but the work I most enjoy is writing the audio scripts. I love the research (and learn a lot too) and it is really rewarding when we receive positive feedback from our library members. Most recently I have been involved in the children’s projects. The educational and leisure books, for use in schools or at home, are always very popular and in much demand. At the moment I’m finalising the audio scripts for a children’s book on the Seashore, cruising round the British Isles to find different treasures on the shore. There are basking sharks, pirates, seaweed, shells and fossils too!
Other exciting projects on the horizon include the two new Touch to See Book Club titles about the Olympic Games, which will be ready for the London 2012 Summer Games. I’m currently writing the audio Introductions for these and enjoying learning about the ancient beginnings and the glittering prizes! One of my favourites, though, has been a book for adults on British Wildflowers – in memory of Alison. It is a subject close to my heart and a chance to honour Alison, in a small way, for the wonderful work she started.
If you would like to borrow any of the books Angela has helped to create please contact the library:
Olympic & Paralympic Games
Exploring the Seashore – currently in production so you can put your name on the waiting list