Ipswich: Amazing Rena’s caught by the web...at 102

DESPERATE not to be left in the shadows by her grandchildren, this savvy centenarian signed up for computer classes so she could learn to send e-mails and peek at friends’ photos online.

The weekly sessions have also taught Rena Daniels how to use Skype to talk face-to-face to her relatives Down Under.

The 102-year-old is today the oldest student to ever graduate from the Community Service Volunteers (CSV) centre in Princes Street, Ipswich.

Volunteer coordinator, Siobhan Barrett, said: “She has passed the basic computer skills section of Go ON, which encourages people to get on the computer for the first time.

“Before she came to us in May, Rena had never switched a computer on so she had to learn to use the mouse and the keyboard.

“She has learnt how to send an e-mail, get online and type. She has got herself a laptop and can do all of that herself from home now.”

Mrs Daniels attends weekly drop-in sessions at the CSV centre but always makes sure she informs the volunteers if she is unable to make a class.

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“She sends e-mails to me here at work saying that she won’t be able to make it this week,” said Ms Barrett.

The coordinator explained that Mrs Daniels is extremely independent, despite her years, and made the decision to join the digital age herself.

“I think she saw her grandsons and other people around her using the internet as a means of communication and realised it was a great way of sending photos and being able to talk to someone visually even if they are thousands of miles away.

“She is quite a formidable force, she didn’t want to be left behind. She keeps pushing herself and wants to keep progressing in life.

“She has a real willingness to learn, that is a great part of her character.”

Mrs Daniels has relatives around the world and through the power of Skype she can now keep in touch.

She said: “I send e-mails to Australia to my cousin and to my daughter in London, she likes to receive e-mails from time to time.

“I have two daughters, two grandsons and four great-grandchildren and they are all very good to me. My daughters are both on the computer so they are able to help me out.”

She thanked Ms Barrett and her volunteer tutor Chris Brown for their understanding and patience over the past six months and added: “It is all run by volunteers, the CSV.”

The pensioner, who lives in the Spring Road area of Ipswich, also browses the web but is yet to catch the social networking bug.

“We haven’t got her on Facebook yet, and I don’t know if we will,” said Ms Barrett.

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