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Man With Speech Aid Thanks Yorkshire Voice Donor Volunteers

March 26, 2021

A man whose speech aid makes him sound “American” has thanked voice donors after an appeal to help him speak in his native Yorkshire accent.

Richie Cottingham, from East Yorkshire, who has cerebral palsy, wanted to create a new voice so he could “sound like my family and friends”.

More than 35 people responded to the plea and three local men have now been chosen for their voices to be recorded.

“Once I have a new unique voice, I have an identity,” said Mr Cottingham.

“I would like to say thank you to all the volunteers who took the time and effort to apply,” said the 26-year-old, who lives near Howden.

Jennifer Benson, Mr Cottingham’s speech and language therapist, said: “We’ve been absolutely blown away by the response from people who’ve offered to donate their voice and sent in their videos for us to listen to.”

She said they were both “amazed” by the amount of support they had received as a result of the appeal.

“He’s over the moon with everything that’s happened.”

Of the 36 volunteers, 27 potential donors submitted voice recordings.

One volunteer, George Burns, said he felt obliged to offer his voice because “it’s something we all take for granted”.

Another would-be donor, Ryan McPherson, 29, said: “Covid’s taught me that, really, we need to try and do everything we can to help anybody.

“If it’s the littlest thing that might make that person’s life a little bit better, than I’m more than happy to help out where I can.”

image captionRyan McPherson is among 36 people who offered to be a voice donor

Mr Cottingham had hoped to select two local men, but instead has shortlisted three because they “all appealed to him”.

His new voice is being created by blending recordings of the shortlisted men.

Once created, it will then be installed on Mr Cottingham’s communication aid.

“I would like to say how good the experience has made me feel,” he added.

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