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Twickenham octogenarian passing computer skills on to peers
A computer whizz in his 80s is teaching older people how to become top techies.
John Smith, of Calvert Court, Manor Park, in Twickenham, set-up the club three years ago and welcomes between nine and 20 members each week.
He said the group was a great place for elderly people to socialise.
Mr Smith lives in sheltered housing provided by Richmond Housing Partnership, which provides the computers for the club.
The 85-year-old took part in an intermediate computer course in 2007 through Age Concern.
When RHP bought eight new laptops to Calvert Court in 2010 Mr Smith started his own computer club.
He said: “We treat it rather as social club, as well as somewhere to learn. I let them all go at their own speed. Some of them move more quickly than others.”
He has taught each member how to surf the net, use Word and send emails, and some people how to use Facebook and Skype, but he tailors his lessons to each individual member.
He said: “We don’t encourage banking or money online as some elderly people are not so good on the security.”
He does teach about internet scams and the negative side of the internet however and also helps people with uploading photographs.
He said the positive aspect of the group was that everyone could go at their own pace and to their own tastes, unlike many other computer courses where people have to be at the same point each week.
Mr Smith moved to Calvert Court in 2002, but was born and bred in Petersham.
He retired from his job as a heating engineer and consultant when his wife had a stroke, passing the family business over to his son.