Motor neurone sufferer given computer voice with Yorkshire accent

Jason Liversidge's new voice was developed at the Anne Rowling Clinic in Edinburgh. Credit: Anne Rowling Clinic

A 41-year-old father with motor neurone disease (MND), who is losing his ability to speak, will be given a computer voice with a Yorkshire accent.

Jason Liversidge, from Scarborough in North Yorkshire, is part of a new project which gives MND sufferers technology with an accented voice.

Experts used recordings of Mr Liversidge's voice from a speech he gave at his sister's wedding, plus those of Yorkshire men who have donated their voices, including Jason's best friend, Phil White.

Donor voices were needed because Mr Liversidge's speech is already slurred.

Mr Liversidge said he hopes the new computer-generated voice, which was developed at a centre in Edinburgh funded by Harry Potter author JK Rowling, will enable him to keep communicating with his wife Liz and two children.

Speaking to BBC Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, Mr Liversidge added that the accented voice would allow him "to keep a form of identity".

He said: "I just don't want to be a programmed voice on a computer. But also for the kids and Liz, [I want them] to hear my voice rather [than] a computer one."

Dr Phillipa Rewaj, a speech and language therapist at the Anne Rowling Clinic, said: "Your voice is identifiable to other people as your face is. It's very unique to you. So to be able to preserve that is really important for people."