Monday, 7 May 2007

A Great Week for Thunder

Even when you are giving something valuable away for free, it still needs to be marketed in the sense that, if no one knows about what Thunder is, then no one will go and download it. So Margaret and I have been meeting with influential people and having no difficulty in getting them on our side.

We now have a Royal Patron: HRH The Duke of York. There is a long tradition of members of the Royal Family giving time and energy to support worthy causes and we are delighted and grateful that has been recognised and given the seal of approval.

We spent a very happy hour at The House of Commons with David Blunkett, MP, Vice President of RNIB. He is to be our Champion and immediately he could see the value of free talking software for all blind people and has given us permission to put his name to Thunder and He was very friendly and enthusiastic and is a great example of success despite not seeing. Amazingly, I plugged in the Thunder memory stick into the House of Commons computer which was set up for us and, in seconds, I was using it and searching the web. Margaret, myself and Mr Blunkett, all three of us blind, were in a position to use a perfectly ordinary computer we had never handled before. Wonderful!!!

And to round off a week with Celebrities, we met Sir Terry Wogan down at the Royal Blind society Bradbury Hotel near Worthing last Friday. He was officially opening the new extension to the hotel which provides holidays for mainly older people with little or no sight who are often trapped in their home day in and day out. He was full of fun and laughter and very much behind the work of The royal Blind society and that includes and Thunder.

For the past twenty years and more, talking software for visually impaired users has been a commercial matter and we feel that the high prices have excluded low income users. Like many other enthusiasts, we have learned just how hard it is to introduce an innovation, however worthwhile. So it has been refreshing to receive so much encouragement at a high level. Margaret and I are very determined people and we believe that in ten years time, our customers will be looking back and saying: “Did blind people really have to pay out an extra £800 to enjoy the use of the computer like everyone else? Surely not”.

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