16th April 2018 - Tracey Payne

Spoken Memoirs

Below is an article written by a Lewes based client of mine, Sarah Hitchings.  When we shared our latest annual review meeting, Sarah explained how she was continuing to progress her small business, Spoken Memoirs, for which she clearly has a heart-felt passion.  After listening to an explanation of Sarah’s work, I couldn’t help but think that this could be of interest to many of our clients, with whom we already have in-depth discussions about their lifetime hopes and ambitions, and their wider family and friends.  And so, it is for this reason I asked Sarah to write a blog for our website.

I hope it makes for interesting reading and lightens things a little compared to the recent investment articles I have posted. Should you wish to find out more please feel welcome to contact Sarah using the website address quoted at the end of the article.

“At a recent meeting with Tracey it was good to have the opportunity to talk to her about my company Spoken Memoirs. I really appreciated her interest, and her understanding of the benefits of the work we do.

I set up Spoken Memoirs with my colleague Jenny Stewart with the belief that more people could benefit from the opportunity to record their memories for posterity. We found ourselves working on projects where organisations were collecting interviews to expand the historical records. The people interviewed for these projects seemed to derive great satisfaction from talking about their life stories and being able to preserve them and share them with others, but the opportunity to do so was limited. We decided to develop a service to allow people to privately commission their own memories to be recorded for their family and friends to expand the opportunities for ‘ordinary’ people to put their lives on record. We wanted to keep our pricing as affordable as possible, developing a model where we charge for our time and materials only.

To create a Spoken Memoir we record an interview based on information we gather beforehand from our client. Family members often have some input at this stage with children and grandchildren suggesting topics or particular times that they would like to hear their loved one talking about.  The recording we make is presented in a gift box and personalised with a set of photographs. Families sometimes club together to buy a Spoken Memoir as a special gift for a significant birthday.

We find people really enjoy the experience of talking about their lives with an attentive listener. They also often express relief that their memories are recorded. In the back of people’s minds as they get older there is often a nagging feeling that they should write a memoir, but this is something many find difficult to get down to.  Like writing a will, it can also be an uncomfortable reminder of mortality and unsurprisingly people put it off. Our service makes the process less daunting.

As time goes on the Spoken Memoirs we create for our clients will become more and more precious. The grandchildren of one client we worked with put together a wonderful slide show using snippets from his interview to play at his funeral service. It was incredibly moving to hear him talking about happy times in his life.  

It is an immense privilege to do the work we do and we and we are always so delighted when we get positive feedback from our clients about how happy they are to have made a recording of these precious memories and stories which would otherwise be lost.”

Sarah Hitchings


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