AN AMATEUR photography and media group in Stirling has raised £440.40 towards the cost of recording a new audio-book for blind and partially sighted people - and a local donor has kindly rounded up the total to £500.

Last autumn, the Bannockburn Study Group, Photography and Multimedia project produced a picture-calendar displaying their best photographs as part of a community-wide bid to fund more Talking Books.

The idea was prompted when group member John Reilly mentioned a fundraising drive he and fellow Stirling resident Janette Scott had organised, including a bake sale and raffle, a donation from Waitrose, and a fundraising disco in the town’s Anchor Inn. The money this raised allowed sight loss charity RNIB to add a new children’s title to its Talking Books library.

John's fellow group-members were so intrigued they decided to produce the calendars as their contribution to the drive.

"I am delighted that my group took part in this fundraising initiative to help raise funds for RNIB Talking Books," said John. "I have sight loss myself and regularly listen to Talking Books from the RNIB library. Thank you to, Colleen Blyth, our tutor, for supporting us with this project and helping to raise such a great amount."

John and his fellow Stirling Council workers at Allan Water House on Kerse Road are also holding another bake sale and raffle next Thursday, March 7, which is World Book Day.

Meanwhile, Tesco in Alloa has donated £1,000 towards the Talking Books community drive after customers voted in the Tesco Bags of Help initiative for it.

Angela Preston, fundraising manager for RNIB Scotland, said: “All our Talking Books are professionally narrated and recorded in a studio, and are lent out free to people with sight loss. But it costs us £1,500 to produce a children's book and up to £2,500 for one for adults. So we do very much depend on the support of the public.

"Across Scotland and the UK communities are working together to raise funds for this. Stirling is one of them and going great guns."