Rustington reader Margot to move to pastures greener

Voice of Progress director Charles Waring with long-standing volunteer Margot Bell, who is stepping down
Voice of Progress director Charles Waring with long-standing volunteer Margot Bell, who is stepping down

SHE has been the voice of Littlehampton and Worthing’s talking newspaper for more than 30 years.

But now, after three decades reading the local news for the area’s blind and partially-sighted, Margot Bell is finally calling it a day.

The 84-year-old said she has enjoyed every second of her time volunteering with Voice of Progress, based at Rustington Hall, in Station Road, Rustington.

The grandmother-of-six said: “I am sorry to be leaving because I have relished every second of my time here. It has been very enjoyable.

“I will miss it a lot but I think it’s time to finally retire.”

Margot, who lives with her husband David, 90, at their home in Third Avenue, Broadwater, said she joined the charity by chance in 1984 after being ‘flattered’ by one of the group’s members during a service at St Symphorian’s Church, Durrington.

“One day some man said to me that my voice was really lovely and that it would work really well with Voice of Progress,” she recalled. “Well, flattery gets you everywhere.”

Margot has been part of a small news and production team at the charity for three decades.

During this time she has helped cover major news stories, including the abduction and murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne, in 2000 by Roy Whiting, of Littlehampton.

She volunteered with the talking newspaper – which has more than 300 listeners from across Worthing and Littlehampton – once every eight weeks.

However, she has been reading to the blind for far longer than that.

During the 1970s, she lived in Ethiopia and helped to read to a blind university student.

“My husband was working with the British Council at the time,” she said. “So we had been travelling around the world.

“I had been used to volunteering and had always enjoyed helping people.”

Margot is now looking forward to spending more quality time with husband David.

Voice of Progress director, Charles Waring, said: “Margot will be really missed. She has a very distinct voice and it’s really lovely to listen to.”

The group is now looking for more volunteers. To join see or call 01903 776569.