Silver Surfer Award
Retired science and chemistry teacher Margaret Mullett from Rathgar, Dublin was this year's winner of the overall Silver Surfer Award 2015.
Margaret was inspired to get online after she lost her husband, George, to a genetic disorder called haemochromatosis, an overload of iron in the system, just six weeks after being diagnosed. If identified early enough, haemochromatosis can be easily treated.
Determined to ensure that no other family would suffer a loss like her own, Margaret used the internet and digital media to build a national awareness campaign, highlighting the dangers of haemochromatosis and urging members of the public to get themselves tested. Since she began in 2005, her work has focused new attention on the illness and more than 20,000 people have been diagnosed.
New to IT Award
The New to IT Award went to Michael Monaghan from Nobber, Co Meath. In 2012 Michael, then a mini-bus driver for children with special needs, suffered a serious stroke and had to retrain himself in many things.
He started with an iPhone, learning to use Viber to send messages and photographs. He now reads the papers, pays his car tax and most recently sorted out his water grant online while using skype to keep in touch with his family.
The Hobbies on the Net Award went to 83-years-young Stanley Jerrard-Dunne. Stanley is a vintage car enthusiast, researching, sourcing and buying parts online, but his real passion is writing.
A self-professed science-fiction anorak, his first book, entitled The Adam and Eve Chronicles, is sold on Amazon in Kindle format and tells the story of a group of scientists who come up with an unusual way of overcoming the problem of over-population.
Corkman Philip O’Donovan was the winner of the Golden IT Award. Every morning, at 7.30, more than a hundred people in Ireland, the United States, Australia, the Netherlands and Britain wake to a ‘thought for the day’ email message from Philip.
He has also used his computer to write a book about a local specialist school for children with complex disabilities – the Lavanagh Centre – and still does the taxes for family members and his local church as well as designing his own greeting cards using old family photos.
IT Tutor(s) of the Year Award
Pat Power from Waterford was the winner of the IT Tutor of the Year Award, which recognises the efforts of the hundreds of people across Ireland who volunteer with Age Action’s computer training programme, Getting Started. Pat has coordinated 15 courses in Waterford, recruiting learners and new volunteers along the way.
What are the Silver Surfer Awards?
The Silver Surfer Awards recognise the achievements of older people using technology and also the volunteers who teach these skills.
The awards attract hundreds of nominations each year.
The five categories for Silver Surfer Awards 2015 are:
- New to IT Award (A person over the age of 50 who is new to technology and has overcome the challenges to become an IT user)
- Hobbies on the Net Award (An older person who uses the Internet to pursue their passion or hobby, or who uses IT for communication and social networking)
- Golden IT Award (An individual over the age of 80 who uses technology to enhance their life)
- Silver Surfer Award (An older person who embraces the Internet or technology with a sense of fun and adventure)
- IT Tutor(s) of the Year Award (An individual or group who provides voluntary support to older learners)
The background of the Silver Surfer Awards
The aim of the Silver Surfer Awards is to raise awareness among older people of the benefits of being online and to encourage those who have not gone online to give it a try.
Almost 1 in 5 adults have never used the internet - that’s more than 550,000 people. The majority of these are older people with 53% (280,000) of those aged 60 to 74 never having been online. As of the National Digital Strategy report published in July 2013 (pdf), only 3% of those aged 75 and over had used the internet.
There is a real need to encourage more people to go online and use internet based services, especially those over 50.
After four hugely successful years with Google, culminating in the 2014 Silver Surfer Awards, we are seeking a new sponsor.
Are you interested in getting your company involved in this fantastic initiative?
Partners around Ireland
Over the past seven years Age Action Ireland has built a network of partners around the country who promote the Silver Surfer Awards. These partners include:
- Retired Teachers’ Association of Ireland
- Active Retirement Ireland
- Irish Men’s Sheds Association
- Garda Siochana Retired Members Association
- Retired RTE staff
- TUI Retired Members Association
- Irish Defence Forces Veterans Association
- Third Age
- Age and Opportunity
- Ageing Well Network
Age Action Ireland promotes the awards through its website, social media and its Ageing Matters magazine. The awards are also promoted in secondary schools, libraries, nursing homes and in parish newsletters across the country.
Through our Getting Started Computer Training programme, Age Action trains over 4,000 older people each year in basic IT skills with the assistance of over 600 volunteer tutors and the awards will be promoted at all classes.
The awards are featured in the following publications:
- Active Retirement Ireland Handbook
- Bluebird Care Pensioners’ Handbook
- Home Instead Senior Citizens’ Guidebook