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Thursday, June 6, 2013


Tim Dodson, long-term volunteer of Tape Aids for the Blind and recently honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the organisation, passed away last week.

Rosemary Draper, whose association with him as a reader (narrator) of books, goes back some 15 years, pays tribute to her friend and colleague:

I was fortunate to have Tim Dodson assigned to me as a Monitor shortly after joining Tape Aids in 1995. I had tried working on my own with the old taping machines but was anything but handy with them. So having this very competent gentleman (and he was that) dealing with the mechanical side of things was an absolute pleasure. I could then concentrate on the characters in my books.

Though our tastes in reading matter differed at times, we became friends and produced a number of 'talking' books over the years. I do remember the two Harry Potter volumes which we were asked to complete as fast as possible as there were people waiting for them. To accomplish this we doubled up on our reading hours and when the second one finally went into production, Tim and Colleen joined Rod and me to celebrate with a champagne lunch. He was very patient throughout the recording of those books - and although he didn't much care for the series, he got to know all the differing voices I used for the characters, very handy if I happened to bring someone in with the wrong voice.

Tim certainly enjoyed listening to a well-written novel, was a very good 'audience' for those:  but the occasional History 'tome' such as Peter Ackroyd's Thames - Sacred River, he found simply too repetitive and factual, there were not enough anecdotes to bring it alive for him. However, I was most grateful for his assistance with the old Celtic and other ancient languages which were frequently used in the first few chapters. 

I'm really glad that the last book we 'did' together, (all 756 pages of it!) Penny Vincenzi's "The Best of Times, was one that he thoroughly enjoyed. In fact, just two weeks ago when we were doing the penultimate chapter he told me "I'm really going to miss this book".

There are five or six plots interwoven in the book - encompassing the lives of people from many differing strata of society. They are all at first involved in a serious accident on the M4 on the way to London. It is a good study of human behaviour and interaction, which, as a 'people' person' Tim found very interesting. The author cleverly brings the protagonists together in the final chapter.   

That title The Best of Times will, I think, always remind me of the happy times I spent at Tape Aids with Tim, reading, having a coffee break and chatting, then more reading, Often someone would come to him with a question. He would usually know the answer, but if in doubt would find a reference book to consult. People would approach him with any number of subjects - including of course, the pronunciation and/or meaning of foreign and sometimes English words.The dictionaries are still in the Edit Room, and should be used pretty regularly now.

Everyone at Tape Aids loved Tim and we will all miss him terribly. Wherever he is now, I hope that he will keep an eye on us as a sort of Guardian Angel, come to think of it, isn't that what he has been doing all these years - cheerfully making sure that we get everything right?!

Tim, we wish you peace and rest. – Rosemary Draper

The family has requested that anyone wishing to make a donation in Tim’s memory should make it 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.