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Age just a number for silver surfers

Wednesday, 11th April, 2018 5:09pm

Cork people are proving that age is no barrier to technology.

A total of nine Cork nominees are shortlisted for this year’s open eir Silver Surfer Awards, which take place on Tuesday 17 April in Dublin.

Now in its ninth year, the awards recognise and reward the achievements of older people using technology and the internet, as well as the volunteers who teach these skills.

The Cork nominations include Gordon Lawson and Jacqueline Cullinane in the Golden IT Award category, and Kate Brown in the Getting Started IT category.

“I have always kept my mind open to new things, and it certainly was a challenge learning about computers at my age,” said Gordon, who at 99 years old started his learning journey completely from scratch.

“I’m by no means a whiz-kid, but I can do it. I’ve found a whole world of facts, figures and knowledge,” he said.

A former policeman and pilot with the Royal Air Force, Gordon is a Jehovah’s Witness and says it has kept him “young at heart and in thought”.

“There’s a lot going on in the world that I don’t like, violence, crime etc. I try to avoid things of that nature, and find out about the beautiful world that we live in,” he said.

78 year old Kate Brown said: “After putting down the phone three times, I eventually contacted Julie Oates from Age Action, who was so lovely that I was convinced to give it a try.

“I always say I’m not an old person, I’m an old teenager! I thought we would be treated like old people, but they were so receptive. I went home that evening and sent five emails. My children were so surprised they thought I’d been hacked! I’ve never looked back.”

Kate added that funding is needed for organisations like Age Action, who she said can “open up a new world” to people like her.

Jacqueline Cullinane, 84, from Ballincollig has undertaken three Age Action courses.

“I had never used my computers before, my husband used to do it all. But when he died I had to learn, and Age Action were so helpful,” she said.

“The one-to-one ‘Getting Started’ classes don’t make you feel intimidated or helpless. They encourage you along in a relaxed atmosphere. I would encourage anyone my age to do it. I don’t mind whether I win, it’s a day out!”

The open eir Silver Surfer Awards take place in eir’s Head Office in Dublin on Tuesday 17 April.

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