Reg goes online after 109 years

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The country’s oldest man has now become the its oldest silver surfer as well.

Despite never going on a computer before, 109-year-old Reg Dean, of Wirkswirth, has been getting to grips with the web thanks to the donation of special computer equipment.

Leek United Building Society provided the Waltham House Extra Care Scheme, where Reg lives, with the equipment, which includes a larger than normal screen and keyboard to assist users with poor eyesight, as well as a big ‘tracker ball’ mouse.

The former reverend said the new technology was wonderful, but confessed he didn’t entirely understand it.

“I don’t know anything about computers,” he said.

Reg did like the idea of using the computer to chat to his son, Christopher, who is the leader of the Syd Lawrence Orchestra and lives out of the area.

Chris Betts, care manager at Waltham House, said: “It’s an established fact that the more active and engaged people are, the better their health and quality of life.

“Leek United’s generous gift will enable our residents to join in with activities that will keep their minds stimulated, for which we’re very grateful.”

June Roberts, is the representative ‘voice’ of her fellow residents at Waltham House and runs informal computer ‘familiarisation’ sessions for them.

The 79-year-old commented: “Mr Dean has never used a computer before, although he does rely on some new technology, such as a speaking watch.

“I showed him places he was familiar with using Google Street View, which really captured his interest.

“I’m also going to see if we can help him speak to some of his family using Skype.”

Julie Williams, manager of Leek United’s Derby branch office, and Ian Bell, from the society’s Wirksworth agency, Minster Financial Solutions Ltd, visited the residents and staff at the care home to officially hand over the new PC equipment to them.

Ben Gronneberg, the society’s head of retail sales, insurance and marketing, said: “We very much hope that Mr Dean, Mrs Roberts and the other residents of Waltham House will get a lot of pleasure and use from it.”