pictures of Richie Cottingham

Ritchie wants his voice to reflect who he is (Picture: Richie Cottingham / SWNS)

A Yorkshireman with cerebral palsy is in the process of changing his computer-generated voice from one that sounds American to his native Northern accent.

Richie Cottingham, 26, said wants to a voice that sounds more like his family and friends who are all from Hull, East Yorkshire.

The self-confessed ‘proud Yorkshireman’ has lived in East Yorkshire his whole life, and said his speaking aid’s current accent does not represent who he really is, and he’d love to be able to have his own voice.

Richie, also from Hull, said: ‘I want to sound like my family and friends.

‘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.’

 Richie Cottingham

Ritchie said: ”I want to sound like my family and friends’ (Picture: Richie Cottingham / SWNS)

Jennifer Benson and  Richie Cottingham

‘I would love to have my own voice’ (Picture: Richie Cottingham / SWNS)

Independent language therapist Jennifer Benson has been working closely with Richie for the last nine months, and said she feels ‘immensely proud and privileged’ to be able to help him regain his voice.

She said: ‘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.

Richie Cottingham, who has had cerebral palsy since birth

Jennifer said: ‘key to your identity and your sense of self’ (Picture: Richie Cottingham / SWNS)

Richie Cottingham in a swimming pool

He’s expecting his new voice to be ready in a couple of weeks (Picture: Richie Cottingham / SWNS)

‘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.

‘It’s turned into a really brilliant project between the two of us, and he’s so excited.’

Richie Cottingham as a young child.

Richie as a little boy (Picture: Richie Cottingham / SWNS)

Richie’s new voice will be created by SpeakUnique, who also helped Leeds Rhino legend Rob Burrow create his voice for his communication aid.

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

The process involves getting two people to say roughly 200 phrases before their voices are merged together to creates a totally unique voice.

Richie is hoping to show off his totally new voice in a just couple of weeks.

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

‘We have the opportunity to literally give him a voice.

Richie Cottingham

Jennifer said: ‘He’ll sound like the people he grew up with, but he will also sound completely unique’ (Picture: Richie Cottingham / SWNS)

‘He’ll sound like the people he grew up with, but he will also sound completely unique.

‘They take those two voices and blend them together to make a new voice, so it’s a voice that belongs to him and him alone.’

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