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Sunday, June 2, 2013


(Tim Dodson & Caroline Smart, colleagues for many years and fellow Tape Aids for the Blind Lifetime Achievement Awardees)

Tim Dodson, much respected volunteer narrator and editor of audio books for Tape Aids for the Blind, died in Durban on May 31, leaving behind an impressive legacy.

Tape Aids for the Blind provides audio tapes of books and magazines free of charge to visually impaired people.

Tim Dodson used his knowledge and proficiency of the English language, honed during his lifetime of teaching of English, to set high standards for all volunteer readers at Tape Aids. He contributed greatly to the superb audio quality and production values of the recorded books.

He recently received the Rotary Vocational Award from the Rotary Club of Durban North for over 20 years of dedicated service to Tape Aids.

As a recipient of Tape Aids’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, his outstanding contribution was honoured by a plaque naming his special domain the “Tim Dodson Editing Room”. Other Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Awardees at the time were Patrick Coyne and Caroline Smart.

Caroline Smart (artSMart editor) is among the many people in the theatre industry who volunteer as narrators (those who record the books): “I shall be bereft without him,” she says. “Tim was the custodian of my voice for nearly 15 years - correcting my mistakes, suggesting different inflections and generally giving me the capacity to take my reading to a higher level.”

Janet Whelan, Mercury Durban Theatre Awards panellist who has a long association with Tape Aids, has this to say: “After volunteering at Tape Aids for the Blind for many years, I first got to know Tim when I became National Head of Production for Tape Aids in 2001. We had an instant rapport through our mutual love and respect for the English language. Tim was the resident dictionary and consultant on all matters of pronunciation and was constantly at our beck and call.

“For anyone who had a query about the correct way to pronounce a word, be it in English or a foreign language, the answer was usually “Ask Tim!” for he always had an answer, either from his own knowledge or, if not, he was interested enough to find out. I consider it a privilege to have known Tim.

Elza-lynne Kruger, Director of Tape Aids, also pays tribute: “Tim leaves behind a legacy of dedication and excellence in converting the silent page to the spoken word for the benefit not only of his fellow volunteers and our staff members, but also thousands of our blind and vision impaired members for whom Tim opened up whole new worlds.

“After retiring as an English teacher in 1990, Tim solidly established himself as a narrator, audition adjudicator and editor here at Tape Aids House. Besides the great honour of reading Madiba’s Long Walk to Freedom, Tim read over 60 books for our organisation. Many of our volunteers owe their acceptance as narrators and proof readers to Tim, his standards were high, so making the ‘Dodson cut’ was an achievement in itself.

“His presence in our editing rooms will be sorely missed. His abilities and counsel were revered and highly sought after by all. His humility made him totally unaware of the respect, praise and deference that he effortlessly commanded as he nurtured his special brand of excellence and commitment in his fellow volunteers and our staff members,” adds Elza-lynne Kruger.

The funeral will take place on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at 14h00 at St Michaels in Marine Drive, Umhlanga. No flowers by request. Suggest donations to Tape Aids for the Blind. 

Account Name:Tape Aids, Standard Bank, Branch: Rosetta Road, Morningside, Durban. Account Number: 256589402 and Branch Code 04 2726

More information on 031 309 4800.