Milton Keynes author turns the voices of loved ones into family heirlooms

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A local author and presenter is offering families the chance to have a priceless permanent record of their loved one’s personalities.

Nick Hammond has launched a new and innovative new business venture called The Living Years.

He conducts an audio interview of a much-loved friend or relative, recording them talking about their life and their thoughts to give snapshot in time of their personality.

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“How often do we think about people only once they’re gone and wish we’d recorded their stories, their thoughts, their feelings? What wouldn’t we give just to hear their voice one more time? Somehow, we just never get around to it," said Nick, who plans to raise funds for the Royal British Legion through his project.

Nick HammondNick Hammond
Nick Hammond

His interviews are recorded remotely, so are perfectly Covid-safe, and then handed over to the client so they can listen, share and keep for ever as a treasured family heirloom they can pass down through the generations

"Interviewing is about listening for the most part and gently prodding at the right moments. It’s a sadly under-rated skill, in my opinion. The Living Years is designed to be a special and unique opportunity to use that skill to really get a feel for a person’s character."

Once a prospective client gets in touch about a friend or relative, Nick personally chats to them to find out some background, fact check and discover more about the interviewee’s personality and life.

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They then set up a date and time and conduct the hour-long interview remotely. All that is required of the interviewee is internet coverage and computer or smartphone access.

Nick's book has been a worldwide hitNick's book has been a worldwide hit
Nick's book has been a worldwide hit

“The recorded interview is professionally edited, packaged and sent back to the client via a unique coded web link, or on a USB stick, whichever they would prefer. And it’s theirs to keep, and do with what they wish, for ever," said Nick, who lives in Hanslope.

"The idea came to me during lockdown in a moment of inspiration and I realised that while I couldn’t safely travel to conduct interviews, I could still use my skills and provide a really lovely service."

An author, writer and presenter, Nick was once a Milton Keynes Citizen reporter himself, and has spent a working lifetime travelling the world and interviewing remarkable people in amazing places.

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His book, Around The World in 80 Cigars – The Travels of An Epicure, has sold thousands of copies worldwide and his podcast of the same name has attracted 15,000 listeners across more than 60 countries.

You can view details of the Living Years project here .