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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 October, 2003, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Schoolgirl is new Speaking Clock
Brian Cobby with Alicia Roland
Alicia will take over from Brian Cobby for a week
A Scottish schoolgirl is to become the voice of the Speaking Clock, the first time a child's voice has been used in the 67-year history of the telephone service.

Alicia Roland, 12, from Renfrewshire, will get to utter the famous words "at the third stroke" after winning a competition to become the famous voice for a week.

It will be the first time that a Scottish accent has been used for BT's Speaking Clock and only the fifth time it has ever been changed.

The idea is part of the Big Listen, a week of activities which encourages adults to listen to young people and raise money for ChildLine.

'Really ecstatic'

At 1730 BST on 13 October, the current voice of the Speaking Clock, 74-year-old Brian Cobby, will be replaced with Alicia's.

By dialling 123 on the BT network, callers will be able to hear Alicia telling the precise time.

She said: "I've never won anything before, so I'm very excited that more than a million people will hear my voice.

"My friends are really ecstatic, but not as excited as my mum."

Entrants to BT's competition in September were asked in what year the Speaking Clock had started ticking.

Alicia Roland
The 12-year-old beat off competition from thousands of children

They were also asked to record their own version of "At the third stroke ...", with their voices judged on tone, timing and confidence.

The Speaking Clock began in 1936 and receives about 80 million calls a year.

Each call costs 10p and BT is donating every penny during the week of activities to ChildLine.

It is hoped that Alicia can raise thousands of pounds for the charity during her week in the job.

ChildLine, a free 24-hour helpline, gets 4,000 calls every day from young people looking for support and advice.

But, because of a lack of resources, only 1,800 get through.


SEE ALSO:
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10 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Stop all the clocks
28 Mar 01  |  UK News
Clock tells time with a wink
26 Jul 99  |  UK News


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