Telling Tales

Encouraging and helping people to share their life stories



A few words from Carolyn’s clients…


“It’s Frances from 60s up. You came to Torbay this afternoon. I didn’t go to their last meeting so I didn’t know what speaker was going to be there. I was so pleased. I thought you were brilliant.  For me you were the best ever. I have always wanted to write a book , I know it’s probably will be boring but I’m going to try. I have got pages and bits of paper with notes on them . I keep them altogether in a bag and get them out every now and again. I went and bought some folders like you said and I’ve written ten pages since I saw you earlier. I haven’t got a computer that broke also no printer . I only have an iPad  so I’m written by hand . The folders were a very good idea because I would be writing about something and I’d think of another thing but have to write that down quickly before I forget. So it’s a bit of a muddle at the moment. I can’t wait to carry on. Thanks to you. I did get a couple of library books out last week but I can’t really understand where to start. You have helped me a lot. Thank you. If or when I finished  do you help people to put it all together with photos too like you showed us in your film today. Please keep in touch by email with any updates.  Thank you,  Carolyn”


  – Frances Tilling, attendee at a presentation.

85th Birthday Party Slide Show a Big Hit!

Not every request I get involves recording a person’s story in a book. Recently, I was asked to put together a slideshow for an 85th Birthday Celebration.

The birthday girl was Margaret Topzand. I had recently done a presentation at her retirement village. Margaret hadn’t actually attended the presentation, but she did happen to read about it in the retirement village newsletter. And good thing she did, too.

Brought to life on the Big Screen

I met with Margaret and set about designing a PowerPoint slide template featuring her favourite colours. Then I scanned, edited and formatted a selection of photos from throughout her long and colourful life.

Working with Margaret, we coordinated the slides so they would match the right notes in the speech she had written. I also coached her with some tips on public speaking and helped her rehearse for the big event. We prepared speech notes, highlighting where she would have to click to the next slide, and gave her advice on what equipment she would need at the party venue.

Now available in book form

When we were done, I converted her speech notes and slide presentation into a book to give to family members.

Needless to say, Margaret’s story brought to life on screen at the party was a huge and pleasant surprise for all her family. Working with Margaret to celebrate her 85 years was an enjoyable, warm and wonderful experience. If you or a family member would like to do something similar, please feel free to reach out, and we can have a chat.

“Working with Carolyn was a pleasure, she was excellent and very helpful. Wording is not one of my strong skills and it was superb to have Carolyn help me with this. She was detailed focused, fixing my mistakes and giving me tips along the way. I cannot fault her, and on top of the practical help, Carolyn, in general, is a really lovely person.”

Thank you again for helping me with this project Carolyn. I felt confident on the night!”

– Margaret Topzand, client.



I have known Carolyn for several years having met her as a member of the Papakura Quota Club – an international service organisation.  I thoroughly enjoyed working with her.  She is bright, obliging and her teaching style and explanations are straightforward and easy to follow.  I was delighted with the invites she created for my husband’s 80th birthday, her creativity really shone through when she put them together. Her suggestions and tips are always helpful for me, especially with all of the new technology which is always changing!  It’s wonderful having someone so patient and knowledgeable on hand to help. Should you ever have IT problems or need some extra help with graphic design, putting together emails or using software, Carolyn is the person to call!


– Nolene Spragg,  a longtime client.



Paula Nes on Carolyn’s time in the Mental Health Services in CMDHB: