92-year-old Burma Star veteran makes digital connection

92-year-old Mablethorpe Burma Star veteran, Mervyn Ellicott, is determined to become digitally-savvy after signing up for personalised IT training sessions at Sutton-on-Sea Library and Community Hub. The sessions were organised with social housing provider Stonewater which operates Peter Dyer Court, a retirement living scheme in Seacroft Road where Mervyn lives.

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Mervyn decided to challenge himself after receiving a tablet from his daughters Janet and Margaret for his birthday. He hopes to use his new IT skills to stay in touch with his family and friends through social media.

Mervyn joined the Army at age 19 and served with the Queen’s Royal Regiment (West Surrey) in Burma (Myanmar), India and Siam (Thailand). He was awarded the Burma Star military medal for serving in the 1941-1945 Burma Campaign during the Second World War.

The newly-launched fortnightly training is run by volunteers at the Sutton-on-Sea Library and Community Hub. Each session is tailored to trainees’ digital requirements in a relaxed and informal setting designed to make learning easy and fun. Further tuition sessions are planned for this year, with more to come in 2018.

Mervyn was delighted with his first lesson: “I really enjoyed the session, even though I wasn’t sure if I would be able to remember everything! I’m looking forward to going again.”

As part of its commitment to supporting residents’ health and wellbeing, Stonewater introduced the sessions to its residents and supports them to attend by organising free transport through Council-run Care Connect. Mervyn attends the IT sessions at the library with two other residents from Peter Dyer Court.

In a world where digital transactions are an essential part of everyday life, nationally, around 73% of women and 59% of men aged over 75, have never been online.*

“With so much now based online, many senior citizens are feeling increasingly isolated and cut off from their communities because they don’t know how to use smart phones, tablets and other digital devices to communicate,” says Janet Allinson, Stonewater Service Delivery Officer.

“Training initiatives like this one are a great way to help older people like Mervyn access essential online services and facilities, connect with their family and friends, and find their feet in today’s fast-paced digital world. As a responsible housing provider, we are keen to do as much as we can to support our residents on their journey to discovering just how exciting and liberating the digital world can be. We are delighted that Mervyn has benefitted so much from this initiative already and hope that his enthusiasm will encourage others to have a go.”

For more information about the IT sessions, please call the library on 07961 711265.