THE man who has been producing the Devizes Talking Newspaper for the past 17 years has been recognised nationally for his dedication and skills.

Wiltshire Blind Association volunteer Alan Hollick received the Volunteer of the Year award in the Visionary Conference at the University of Edinburgh.

Visionary is the umbrella organisation for independent charities supporting blind and partially sighted people across the UK.

The awards, sponsored by Towergate Insurance and Visionary, were a highlight of the conference which brought together people working across the sight loss sector, to celebrate excellence in the leadership and management of charities.

Mr Hollick received a cheque for £1,000 for the Wiltshire Blind Association, a trophy and a framed certificate.

Former police inspector Mr Hollick, 83, from Broadleas Road, Devizes, has been volunteering with the charity for more than 17 years and runs the audio lending library as well as producing a monthly audio magazine and the Devizes Talking Newspaper.

He said: “The award was a huge surprise. It knocked me backwards. I didn’t even know I was up for it.

“We produce 22 CDs and tapes each week, using stories from the Gazette & Herald. I have no plans to retire from it. It keeps me out of mischief.”

Mr Hollick is married to Janet and they have two children, Karen and Keith. Mr Hollick was a serving officer with Wiltshire Police for 30 years, mainly based at police headquarters in Devizes.

Leanne Hubbard, chief executive at the Wiltshire Blind Association, said: “We are thrilled for Alan receiving this award. His dedication and commitment to the charity is exceptional and the service he provides is a valuable lifeline to many of our members”.