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Man with cerebral palsy looking for volunteers to recreate his native Yorkshire accent

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Yorkshireman Richie Cottingham, 26, says he dislikes his current computer-generated voice because it sounds American. He is appealing for volunteers to help him create his native accent from Hull, East Yorkshire.

The self-professed ‘proud Yorkshireman’ has lived in East Yorkshire for his entire life and has had cerebral palsy since birth.

Richie said his current speaking aid does not represent who he is. With speech and language therapist, Jennifer Benson, they are hoping to find two men around his age to create a new voice in his preferred accent.

Richie said: “I want to sound like my family and friends.

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“When I am in a room with lots of other people we all sound the same because all of the devices use the same voices.

“I lived in East Yorkshire all of my life so I think an East Yorkshire accent would fit well to me.

“I would love to have my own voice.”

Jennifer Benson, 46, has been working closely with Richie for the past nine months. She said she feels ‘immensely proud and privileged’ to be able to help Richie regain his voice.

Ms Benson continued: “I think it’s so important for someone to have their own voice. Most of us don’t realise it but our voices are unique to us as individuals.

“How often do we answer the phone and people know it’s you – it’s unique like your fingerprints. It’s key to your identity and your sense of self. We know it from our patients who lose their voices that it’s so important.

“I feel like this is a huge deal, as a speech therapist we want to enhance people’s communication as best we can do.

They have narrowed it down to three people whose East Yorkshire accents are to Richie’s preference.

The ‘clever’ process involves getting two people to say roughly 200 phrases before their voices are merged together so it creates a completely unique voice.

Richie is hoping to show off his new voice in a few weeks’ time.



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