Shotley: Meet the 11-year-old computer whiz who teaches IT lessons to silver surfers - and is Suffolk’s answer to Bill Gates!

SHOTLEY: Silver surfers are speeding into the internet age – with the help of 11-year-old computer whiz Tyson Bedwell.

Tyson, who lives in Shotley, was recruited by Mel Newman, his headmistress at Shotley Primary School, to help out at the free weekly computer classes held at the school by charity Age UK.

“I love computers and helping out at this class,” Tyson said.

“It’s fun and educational.”

The Shotley Silver Surfers course, now in its second term, is run by Tyson and volunteer Marian Pugh, a former Shotley Primary teacher.

The classes came about after older people who attend a local Age UK luncheon club told local Community Links Officer Gavin Hodge of feeling excluded from recent developments in information technology.

Mr Hodge said: “I think older people are disenfranchised from information these days.

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“We want to help people live independently and information is the key to doing that more often than not.”

This term’s Silver Surfers has been attended by Tyson’s grandmother, Gwendolen Bedwell, who is 83 and hopes to use the internet to learn more about local and family history.

Eighty-year-old John Stubbs, another of Tyson’s pupils, said: “I think we were all surprised how expert Tyson is. He really knows his stuff.

“I’ve got Skype now for friends in Spain and Australia.

“It’s a job to remember, but when you’ve grown up with it like the youngsters it seems to be easier.”

Tyson, who also builds computers and runs an IT club at his school, already has a reputation as Shotley’s answer to Bill Gates

“He’s always enjoyed anything electronic, and dismantling them and making them work again,” said mum Dina.

“We’ve got a number of neighbours who, whenever they get stuck with any computer issues come and knock on the door and ask if Tyson can help.”

Although income from his fledgling computer support service is currently limited to the occasional five pound note, Tyson has long had ambitions to be a self-made technology entrepreneur.

His mother added: “I think he’s going to be so keen to get into business that he won’t have time for a degree.”

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