Actor Hugh Fraser, who plays Captain Hastings in the TV series Agatha Christie’s Poirot, was the star guest at a special party held at Calibre Audio Library in honour of its volunteer readers.
He joined the charity to say a Thank you to three special volunteers who between them have given 16,500 hours of their time to record 550 audio books for blind and partially sighted people.
With each book averaging 30 hours to record, Bob Rollett and Terrence Hardiman received Gold Centurion awards for recording 200 books, while fellow thespian Derry Dinkin received a Silver Centurion award for 150 books.
The readers record the books on laptops in their own homes using specialist software before the finished book is sent back to Aylesbury-based Calibre for checking and copying.
Half of the charity’s books are recorded this way with the other 50 per cent bought commercially.
Hugh Fraser, who has recently written two thrillers, Harm (already in the Calibre library) and Threat, has recorded 20 commercial Agatha Christie novels which are available to Calibre’s 15,000 members.
Christine Ronaldson, head of literature and audio book production, who is retiring in August after 20 years with the charity, paid tribute to the volunteers.
She said: “I would like to express my deep gratitude to Bob, Terrence, Derry and all our readers on behalf of our members - many of whom are frail and elderly - who tell us our books are a lifeline. It never ceases to amaze me the dedication and hours they selflessly put aside to record an amazing variety of books which bring happiness to so many people. We were delighted that Hugh Fraser could join us for this celebration.” Visit www.calibre.org.uk