“A great advocate of older people using computers.”

“Fame at last” said Barbara (-one of our ‘1:1 at home’ customers) as she let me know about her appearance in the Daily Record last Saturday, along with 2 others (-Barbara is bottom right of article). The article was inspired by a tweet from the Queen, “thanking everyone for the many digital messages of goodwill she had received” on her 90th birthday.  Barbara (85), May (84) and Ann (82) are urging their peers to get online and tapping into the variety of things it has to offer. It’s not just their generation that are missing out on otherwise. Think of the experience, wit and interest that folk like Barbara bring to us through interaction with us through emailing, Facebook and so on.

The articles reads:

‘At school, Barbara used a slate for writing -now she uses a PC and tablet and enjoys computer games.

Barbara, 85, from Ratho, near Edinburgh, said: “I am a great advocate of older people using computers.” She’s always embraced technology and bought her own computer 11 years ago. But when she faced problems she was put in touch with Mike Ellis at Tap Into IT, a social enterprise who help older people improve their digital skills.

She said:”when I went to school, it was like something out of a Dickens novel. You went  with slate and pencil. That’s where you wrote your arithmetic and English. You had a little bottle of water and a wee rag to rub it out. I never saw a notebook until secondary school. There was no technology growing up.”

When Barbara started working as a telephonist for the Post Office at 16 it was the first time she’d had anything to do with phones. Later on in the 50’s, part of her job involved testing the phones at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh before a visit by the Queen. “I had to go down before she arrived and go into every place there was a telephone and check it was working. There were about 60 phones and everything had to go through the operator who then connected it. It wasn’t automatic back then. We used to do that every year before the Queen came to make sure every phone could receive a call and get hold of the switchboard. ”

Barbara took early retirement from BT when she was 55 but went on to look after the communications centre in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in 1986.  She said ” I worked on a very basic computer back when the equipment to go with them just about filled a room.” She later took temporary work until finally retiring at 73.

Barbara added:”I’ve always been fairly interested in technology. I decided to buy myself a computer 11 years ago because I felt my brain was going stale.” She’s enjoyed keeping her mind active playing computer games such as Farmville. She upgraded her computer since and also bought a Samsung tablet. She shops online, checks emails every day and has been on Facebook for about 6 years, using it to keep in in touch with friends.

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