November 1977, the Downpatrick Lions
have been keeping people with visual
problems informed about what is going on
through the Downsound talking newspaper,
which will soon celebrate its fortieth
birthday. Some of the original members
were John Riordan, Terry Torney, Deirdre
Curran, Margaret Orr and Liam Conlon –
who are still active forty years later!
There are, of course, a number of other
enthusiastic community- minded people on
the back-up team.
Distributed every two weeks, Downsound’s
1,000th edition was sent out in May this
year, and since its launch the Lions
Club has distributed 35,000 tapes. The
voices on the tapes belong to members of
the Downpatrick Lions Club who set up
the talking newspaper, and their job has
been made a lot easier with new
recording equipment given to them a few
years ago by the Department of Social
Development as it allows the volunteers
to record more copies at a time. The
success of the talking newspaper is due
to the hard work and dedication of
committed volunteers whose words provide
the visually impaired with information
about the comings and goings across the
talking newspaper has had several homes
since its launch, it is currently based
at the Downshire Hospital where, after
recording, tapes are made ready for
distribution with the cost generously
covered by the Post Office. People who
receive the tapes can also return them
by post to the Lions Club for free.
Downsound’s tapes run for around an hour
with stories from two local newspapers –
the Down Recorder and Mourne Observer –
providing people with news, sports
reports, up-coming events and snippets
of interest from a wide-ranging area
around County Down. Local personalities
have been interviewed over the years and
asked to recall their memories of the
area – they remembered the first silent
movie at the cinema and the first
bottles of milk being delivered to their
doorstep. Even Olympic gold medallist
Mary Peters arrived in the studio one
day to say a few words.
Down District is covered and tapes are
also sent to people who have moved away
so they can keep up-to-date with what is
happening locally. In between articles
music is played and readers will
describe some of the photographs
reproduced in the papers. The editors
try to ensure that there is a wide range
of stories to suit every age group –
from current affairs to the ever-popular
very positive feedback from the
recipients of the tapes. They have said
how much they look forward to the latest
edition of Downsound dropping through
their letterboxes, and Downpatrick Lions
Club are delighted that Downsound has
been such a huge success and that so
many people get such enjoyment from it.
party night for senior citizens every month.
✓Promotion on the use of the Medic Alert bracelets is
✓Sponsoring Eye Camps in India.
✓Club awareness of the needs of our senior citizens and
youth of our area.
✓Young Ambassador of the 21st Century - youth award
annual Youth Quiz involving schools and youth clubs.
✓Primary school children enter the Lions Peace Poster
✓Annual environmental competition amongst Primary
schools in the area on a given environmental
✓Lion members working in a practical way on a litter
pick to highlight awareness.
street collections in Downpatrick town every year.
✓Sponsored golf day at the local golf club.
✓Production of a yearly calendar with photographs of
“old Downpatrick & district” with Lion members selling
these on the street over 5 days in December each year.
✓Table quiz fund raising evening.
✓Autumn ballot were members sell tickets at a local
large supermarket complex.
make many donations throughout the year to support both
local needs in our town and district as well as National
groups and Lions International projects helping famine
relief and other major world disasters.
are very aware of local publicity and have recently
re-issued our own Lions information leaflet to renew the
public’s awareness in the work. We do have many
photographs and reports published in the local press to
keep the public informed of our work and donations.
Downpatrick Lions Club continues to “SERVE” since its
formation back in 1973 by the ongoing generosity and
support of the people in the area and by the leadership
of our Presidents and the hard work of club members to
help the less fortunate in our world to-day.