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Silver Surfer - Marguerite Faulkner (95)

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Marguerite uses the computer to surf the internet, send e-mails and talk to her seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren via Skype after receiving the computer as a gift for Christmas last year from her family.

Ms Faulkner received her award from the Minister for Older People, Aine Brady, and O2 senior executive for corporate social responsibility, Sinead Smith, at the IMAGINE IT! Conference - a celebration of older people and information technology organized by Age Action as part of Positive Ageing Week. This is Ireland's first conference, IT expo and awards for older people.

It is Positive Ageing Week from the Friday 25th September until Saturday 3rd October.

Who is the guest?

Marguerite Faulkner (95) She was born in 1914 - Son Randall 65 - Daughter Sheena 64 and seven grandchildren and two great grand children.

Nominated by son Randall 65 - he told her that he had submitted her name but she had no idea that she would win. She found out a week before that she was shortlisted and had to come up to Dublin for the awards.

Marguerite was very surprised when she won the award as she only came up to Dublin for that day as she was short listed for the award but was delighted to win and loves spending time on the computer.

She loves being on the computer and communicating with her family via the internet. She has also completed a digital photography course but is not very good at attaching photos. She also likes to play brain-training games on her DS console.

It was her first time in Croker on Monday; it was a lovely place and a wonderful experience.

In early stages she went to class to learn now to use the computer but they used lap tops and she has a PC so she read up about the internet, looked at books and self taught her self.

She also did a digital camera course to learn to transfer photos to the computer, but is not very good at attaching photos and sending them.

She uses Skype a lot to talk to her grandchildren who are in Singapore, Scotland and England and her niece in Norway. She is not the best at it but tries and loves that she can chat to her family all over the place. (she could not really recall the sites that she uses most)

She uses Google - to search for information on Technology and Science, News headlines, Entertainment and Watercolour painting as her main hobby is water colour painting.

She never buys anything on the internet but does use it to check prices etc.

She has a hotmail account.

Marguerite will have her DS Nintendo with her and will give the girls a demonstration of her brain training skills

She has been reading all the wonderful paper coverage of her success and feels very humble and still can not believe it.

The Silver Surfer Awards are about:

Nominating an older person who embraces IT with a sense of adventure, a sense of
fun, as a new opportunity for learning, leisure, pleasure or enterprise.

Ms Faulkner (Silver Surfer Award) was one of five award winners announced at the Croke Park event today. Other awards went to:


IT Volunteer(s) of the Year
Do you know someone who provides support and encouragement to older learners on a voluntary basis? You can nominate an individual or group of volunteers (of any age).

WINNER : Stella Connor, Drogheda, Co. Louth has provided free ICT and mobile phone training to 200 members of her community in the Lourdes recreation centre. She knows every trainee by name and makes call to each individual to encourage them to join in. She talks about how she overcame her own fears when she started. She has discretely sourced literacy classes for others who confided with her about needing assistance with reading and writing skills.

Group Communicator
Nominate someone who you think uses IT for group communication (family, community, club) to the best effect - texting, emailing, skype, wiki, blogs, twitter .

WINNER : Charlie Byrne, Donnybrook, Dublin, voluntarily runs the website and electronic newsletter for RTE pensioners and received a huge number of nominations. Nominators spoke of how much they looked forward to the newsletters, especially those who now live abroad. It provides them with essential news of how former colleagues were getting on, the various charities supported by colleagues and spreads the word promptly about people who have had died. One described the service as a "life-enhancing social network". Others noted the importance of the weekly newsletter and website in making them still feel part of a community that they had spent so much of their working life with.

Passionate Hobbyist
Do you know someone who best exploits the internet in the pursuit of a passion or hobby - e.g. a quilter, sailor, nature lover, gardener, photographer, bird watcher, cook, musician, local historian or genealogist - we'd like to hear!

WINNER : John O'Toole (86), originally from Santry, has been living at the Care of the Older Person Unit at the hospice since 2007. He has Parkinson's Disease and this effects his use of computers, but it does not stop him. He began learning about computers in October, 2008, and now loves receiving and replying to emails using a "Bigkeys LX keyboard". A former Dublin Board of Works employee, he has a lot of knowledge of buildings in the capital and enjoys reading about these on the internet. He has a keen interest in local history and can spend a whole computer session looking up historical articles. Each week he arrives with a list of things he wants to look up and learn about. John also loves music (especially Daniel O'Donnell) and loves to read about the lives of his favourite musicians and watch them perform on You Tube. John is quoted in the nomination: "it gives me knowledge of things I didn't know before.places I had hear of before but never visit - I can get to these on the computer."

Most dedicated IT learner
Nominate someone you think is the most determined learner, and tell us what kind of
challenges they have had to overcome to become a confident IT use

WINNER - Most dedicated IT learner
Marie O'Gorman (75), Walkinstown, Dublin, began from scratch to learn about technology five years ago when her daughter moved to Armenia with her husband and young family to do humanitarian work. She could not visit them due to a medical condition which prevents air travel. She enrolled in a local computer course to enable her keep contact with them and grandchildren in other parts of the world. She now emails them daily with news of home and also uses Skype to see them as they chat. She takes digital pictures of her garden and emails them to family, asking them to pick the plants or flowers they want "slips" from - she then emails them when they are ready for collection. She has also taught other older family members how to use computers. She is a volunteer in the local school, teaching the children to knit and sew - she downloads patterns from the internet and prints them off for her weekly classes.

The winners received prizes of IT products sponsored by 02, Microsoft, Canon, Peats Electronics and Dublin City Community Forum.

Positive Ageing Week is a festival which highlights the positive aspects of ageing and celebrates the contribution older people have made and continue to make to their communities.
The central aim of Positive Ageing Week is to dispel the many negative perceptions that surround ageing and to transform attitudes towards ageing and older people. We need to celebrate the fact that we are living longer, that ageing is not a burden but an opportunity.

Who organizes Positive Ageing Week?
Age Action coordinates Positive Ageing Week. Events and activities are organised by active retirement groups, local voluntary groups, nursing homes, libraries, commercial organisations and individual older people themselves.
This is the 7th year Age Action has marked UN International Day of Older Persons (1 Oct) and each year Positive Ageing Week has become bigger and better. Last year over 600-recorded events took place in 25 counties throughout the country and this year we are hoping for at least 750, including many from across the border. Positive Ageing Week is proudly sponsored by ESB Customer Supply.

Age Action's Share a Golden Moment campaign:
To help celebrate October 1st UN International Day of Older Persons, Age Action is calling on the nation to stop what they are doing at 11am on that day and share a golden moment with an older person over a cup of tea.

October 1st falls during Positive Ageing Week and so we are calling on businesses to help promote the spirit of the day by purchasing boxes of tea bags from Age Action and distribute them amongst their customers and staff during Positive Ageing Week. Age Action is also encouraging communities to have their own tea party at 11am on October 1st to mark the day.

To order a box of tea bags for your workplace or for a tea party, or to volunteer your support to sell them on the street call Dee Clare at (01) 475 6989 or log onto