Seaton ‘silver surfer’ shortlisted for stardom

Pensioner’s internet skills could earn him UK title

A SEATON pensioner is in the running to be named the nation’s top “silver surfer”.

David Howe, 70, has been shortlisted with three other finalists for the title of Age UK Internet Champion.

The initiative, supported by BT, sees people over 55 nominate themselves to become a “Champion” for a year, helping Age UK to advocate the use of the Internet to peers.

This year’s theme was “how the Internet changed my life” and nominees were asked to share the life-changing benefits they have gained from being online.

Mr Howe, who lives at Eyewell Green, has restricted mobility and emphysema (COPD) so spends a lot of time at home. He impressed judges with his positive attitude and the way he uses the Internet to manage his household bills and utilities, act as secretary to the UK Stamp Club and also keep up to date with information and advice from Age UK Devon.

Despite his illness Mr Howe is also an IT Volunteer at Age UK Devon’s Centre in Seaton helping teach other people in later life how to use the Internet.

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But his mobility problems mean he will not be able to travel to the final at the BT Tower in London in January and will have to take part via webcam.

He said: “I am over the moon to have reached the final. When I applied I never thought I would make it this far. I want to work with Age UK to help reach others like me who are reticent about using a computer and the Internet. The Internet has changed my life in the way I manage my affairs and keep in touch with friends and family and I would like to encourage everyone else to take a leap of faith and learn a new skill.”

Mr Howe will receive a laptop and broadband package courtesy of BT.

David Mortimer, Head of Digital Inclusion at Age UK, said: “A huge congratulations to Dave for making it through to the final. The level of applications this year was astounding.”