Jim steps down at 40 years at the Scottish Braille Press

Posted: 30/06/2017 |

The Scottish Braille Press has bid a fond farewell to one of its longest serving employees, Jim McCafferty. 

Jim joined the Press aged just 17 after graduating from the Royal Blind School.

Jim with Richard, Mark and John

Now, more than 40 years later, he is retiring from the organisation and has been invited to become a member of the Scottish Braille Press Board, in what Jim described as his ‘proudest’ moment of working for the Press.

He said: “I was very moved to be invited to join the Board, I wasn’t expecting it at all.”

Jim is leaving the Press before it moves to a new state-of-the art facility in Gorgie.

“I think it’s fitting that I’m leaving before the move,” Jim said. “It’s bittersweet for me, as for as long as I’ve been with the Scottish Braille Press, we’ve been in the current building. I think it’s necessary for the Press to grow and expand. I’ve seen a lot of changes working at the press, mainly around the types of content we’re producing and I’m retiring at a time when it’s stronger than ever.”

Jim has provided a valuable service as a Braille proofreader as well as being an active member of the vision impairment community – raising issues around mobility and accessibility, including as a Board member of the UK Association for Accessible Formats.

As a teenager in 1971, Jim was invited to take part in a trial of the Sonicguide, a device designed to help visually impaired people navigate through their surroundings, by using ultrasound to sweep the user’s surroundings and help them ‘hear’ nearby objects.

He was one of just 30 people in the UK to trial the Sonicguide, which he used for around 15 years. The device earned him the nickname Joe 90 among his friends.  

Jim also took a five-year break from working at the Press to join Guide Dogs Scotland.

Now he is looking forward to spending more time with his family and friends. He has also agreed to stand in as a proofreader for the Press on a freelance basis when needed.

Scottish Braille Press Transcription Co-Ordinator, Sandra Wright, said Jim had been an ‘outstanding’ member of staff.

She said: “Jim will be sorely missed by everyone at the Scottish Braille Press. We will miss not only his diligent work as a proofreader, but he is a fountain of knowledge on Braille and accessible formats. I’m pleased that he staying on with us in some capacity.”