A WOMAN not short on courage herself, BBC journalist Kate Adie has paid tribute to the bravery of adults learning to read.
Ms Adie is the new patron of Dorset’s Read Easy scheme and she was at the packed Bridport town hall to present certificates to graduates.
She said: “I feel immensely honoured to be patron.
“There are so many things that reading encompasses – the whole of human life put into words.
“I feel passionately about this that everybody should achieve that point where they feel confident, not only confident, but happy that they can read because reading is about pleasure as much as it is about information, warning and advice.”
She said it was wonderful to see so many people in Bridport who care about the scheme and paid tribute to the readers and their helpers. She added: “Not all of us learn at school, that is very clear, for all kind of reasons, for which no one should look for the fault, certainly not the fault in the person trying to learn to read.
“The business of words is central to our communication.
“So hurrah to all the people who are coming forward and all those people who are helping.”
She said a former colleague, newsreader Michael Burke, always said he just got paid for reading out loud.
She said: “If one person can spend his life doing that and getting paid for it – perhaps that’s a tiny indication of how important it is and how fruitful it is to learn to read.
“To be able to read can lead to anywhere.”
Bridport’s Read Easy chairman Christian Tyler thanked everyone who has supported the scheme, especially co-ordinator Vee Driscoll, in its two and a half years and asked that people spread the word.
He said: “Since October 2011 we have had 36 people from the Bridport area with 16 graduates.
“We have done a great deal but there is an awful lot more we can do. According to surveys about one in five or six adults struggle.
“Bridport has an adult population of about 12,000 people which suggests there are about 2,500 who need help.”
Helper Councillor Anne Rickard said she found some words on the internet that applied to all the readers: “Strength doesn’t come from what you can do, it comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.”
New reader Christine Orchard, 41, said: “It took quite a lot of courage to do. It has made a hell of a lot of difference.
“In the past I have had to rely on everybody else to help me.
“A whole new world has opened up to me. I would definitely recommend it to anyone. I did feel shame because somebody of my age should have been able to do it a long time ago but it is the best thing I have done.”