Moving forward

NEW BLOOD AND NEW TECHNOLOGY

Miss Chandler died in harness in November 1987 after 14 years as editor. She had returned from her annual jaunt abroad, prepared the December issue, and died before it appeared in print.

Kathy Matthews had already announced her decision to resign as Production Manager. In the emergency, Kathy completed the editing and saw the December issue through its production stages.

Jack Parks, the Link Chairman, twice asked Margaret Finch to take over as Editor, and twice she refused. He asked a third time, and she relented.

Ian and Jean Tiller agreed to take on the production role, and the show was back on the road. Ian worked in office supplies, and was aware of changing technology. Under his guidance, in July 1989, the Committee decided to invest £3,335 in a Print/Fix duplicator and scanner.

The first fruits of this purchase appeared in the September 1989 issue, when the Link published its first photo. It was the Nuffield Memorial Hall, in an advertisement offering the use of the hall to village organisations at £4.75 per session.

Three months later, the Editor announced in her column that 'from now on the Link will be produced by our robots (our Word Processor, High Speed Thermal Digital Stencil Cutter, and new duplicator.)' This bade a final farewell to the wax stencils, and for the need to type every page twice, firstly on paper as a 'rough' for the Editor's scrutiny, and secondly on the wax stencil.

Gadfan Morris, now the Advertisement Manager, took charge of the scanner/stencil cutter, mainly to produce better-looking advertisements, but also to produce the Editor's stencils. The stencil cutter made an unpleasant smell, and Gadfan complained to the Committee that it was a health hazard.

The word-processor was an Amstrad, which the Editor had bought on her own initiative. Unlike a traditional typewriter, it allowed the right-hand edge of the page to be 'justified', i.e. to run in a straight line from the top of the page to the bottom. For the first time, the Link began to look more like a real magazine. Also the Amstrad allowed typing errors to be corrected very easily.

The Amstrad was the first low-cost word processor, but it had its limitations. The Editor moved on to her own personal computer, and in 1995 the Committee authorised her to purchase a bubble-jet printer for £199.

Jack Parks resigned as Chairman at the end of 1990. For some years he had also operated the duplicator at his home in Blacklands Meadow. 

Dennis Porter, assisted by Harold Fanthorpe, took over the duplicating. The machine took up new quarters in the cupboard under the stairs at Dennis' house in Mid Street.

The Chairman was not so easily replaced, and it was not until October 1991 that Peter Hedley was appointed.

From its inception, the Link's covers and advertisement pages had been printed by commercial printers. It gave the magazine a more professional look, but incurred 30-40% of the magazine's total costs. This was finally resolved in 1993. An extraordinary meeting of the Committee on 16th August agreed to purchase a RICOH 2105 printer. This was an advanced type of photo-copier, substantially faster than the old duplicator. It made its own stencils from black-and-white images, without mess or foul smells, and most importantly it was able to print the Link's covers and advertisement pages. Gadfan Morris was spared the threat to his health.

The RICOH printer was replaced by an updated model in 1999, and again in 2005.

In 2002 the labour-intensive collating process was partly mechanised. Alex Hillman of Nutfield Marsh was working at Reigate Grammar School. She was aware that the school wished to dispose of an electrically-operated collator, and enquired whether the Link were interested. The Link was interested, and the machine came to Nutfield.

It has twelve hoppers, into which the printed sheets are loaded. It delivers sets of pages in their correct sequence.

In 2007 it is operated by Roy Clark and Peter Talbot.

It is still necessary to hold sessions at which the sequenced sheets are stapled, folded and packed, and Roy organises village organisations to do the work as before. The advantage is that only half the number of volunteers are needed (6 instead of 12) and the job takes only half as-long as before.