Actor honoured for services to the blind

Retired Skegness actor Richard Simpson pictured after receiving his award for services to the blind.
Retired Skegness actor Richard Simpson pictured after receiving his award for services to the blind.
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A retired actor from Skegness with an illustrious past in Broadway has been honoured for his services to the blind.

Richard Simpson was recently presented with a Silver Centurion award after volunteering 4,500 hours of his time to record 150 audio books for the visually impaired.

The 81-year-old thespian, who began recording for Calibre Audio Library in the 70s, says he has been proud to support such a ‘tremendous’ cause.

“It’s a wonderful organisation and when you hear what it means to the people it serves, it’s so uplifting you think, right, there are people a lot worse off than me, I should just get over to the microphone and get on with it,” he said.

Richard received his award from 1992 Whitbread Children’s Novel winner Gillian Cross at a special party hosted by Calibre Audio Library.

Head of literature and audio book production, Christine Ronaldson, said: “This is a fabulous recognition of all the time our readers, book reviewers and audio book checkers give to our charity.”

Richard, who left Skegness as 16-year-old for drama school, went on to enjoy more than half a century in acting, treading the boards on prestigious productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company and alongside such illustrious names as Sir Ian McKellen.

He started recording audio books using reel-to-reel equipment, although he now professes to be a ‘reluctant’ laptop user and has lately recruited several friends to donate their services.

Calibre provides audio books for 18,000 people who cannot read print, including 300 from Lincolnshire. For more information visit www.calibre.org.uk.