The Okehampton Read Easy branch marked a momentous occasion last week (June 26) when one of its readers became the first to graduate from the programme.

David Edwards was the first of the branch's readers to complete the whole course, designed to help adults improve their literacy skills, over 55 sessions with his coach, Matthew, who praised David for his dedication and hard work, adding that David travelled six miles by bike to each session often in harsh winter conditions.

He said: "One of the things that I learned from doing this is that when you are a fluent and capable reader it's very difficult to put yourself into the situation and imagine what that would be like if that was taken away from you. Working with David has really helped me to understand that. He's now on an electric bike. I used to be able to go into the library, put my feet up, choose a book. Now he gets there before I do. His diligence and the amount of effort he's put into it is fantastic."

Since improving his literacy skills, David has experienced a significant increase in confidence. He can now navigate the internet and use a mobile phone, tasks that once posed substantial challenges for him.

Branch coordinator Frances Girling said: "David was my first recruit, so I'm very, very proud, as we all are. David is now using the internet and a mobile phone. So it's all these things—not just the reading; it's everything. It's the confidence that it builds on."

Read Easy is expanding its resources with the recent support from the Okehampton Lions Club. The club has provided the programme with funds to purchase two new tablets and new books. Martin Jewell, the outgoing president of the Lions Club, decided to support Read Easy because he himself struggles with dyslexia.

In England alone, 2.4 million adults - over seven percent of the working-age population - struggle with reading or cannot read at all. Read Easy is a national charity that provides free one-to-one coaching to adults interested in improving their reading skills.