3, Ireland’s largest high-speed network and official National Broadband Scheme provider, today (Tuesday 16th November) announced this year’s winners of The 3 Silver Surfer Awards with Age Action, at a ceremony in The Gresham Hotel presented by Minister for Older People and Health Promotion, Aine Brady.

Three finalists were shortlisted in each of the six categories and were chosen from hundreds of entries for their passion and willingness to embrace new technology. The 3 Silver Surfer Awards 2010 with Age Action aim to acknowledge elderly people who have used IT and the internet for fun and to improve the quality of their lives.

Winners were presented in six categories with the top accolade of 3 Silver Surfer Award with Age Action going to Evan Hassell, a 95-year-old great-grandfather from Dublin who was nominated by his granddaughter Rebekah.

The winners in each category are as follows:

  • 3 Silver Surfer Award 2010 with Age Action –

Evan Hassell, from Cork and living in Dublin – 95-year-old great-grandfather Evan, is an avid user of the internet, computers and his mobile phone which help him keep in touch with his family at home and overseas.  He emails and texts Rebekah and his family to distraction! And is online many times a day.  Over, 10 years ago he attended St. Anne’s church when they set up their cyber café for the over 60’s. Before his retirement he introduced the computer to his office, encouraged staff and management alike to use this new phenomenon.  He loves looking online at photographs of his family and he is helping his brother in Canada to record his memoirs. He has recently become addicted to Google maps and was able to find and save his families houses! Rebekah and his family think he is just incredible at 95 to be using the internet (better than her) and encouraging others to do likewise.

Nominated by his great-grand daughter Rebekah Fozzard, Co. Dublin

  • IT Volunteer of the Year (open to all ages) –

Dick Brennan, Malahide –For the past two and a half years Dick has helped familiarise Silver Surfers with computer skills.  He has provided PC classes three times a week, teaching over 1000 pupils the basic skills of computing.  With his cheerful and kind nature, he has ensured that all enjoyed this process.  Despite illness he has persevered.  The staff of Malahide Library and all his pupils are delighted that he is receiving recognition for his efforts by receiving this award.

Nominated by Susan Lovatt, Libarian, Malahide Library, Co. Dublin

  • Best Use of Internet

Fred English Senior, Dublin – 75-year-old grandfather Fred was nominated for preparing online training and fitness plans and motivational music for his grandson so that he could coach him for the Cork marathon despite being on the opposite side of the country.

Nominated by Fred English Junior, Cork

  • Most Dedicated IT Learner

Maureen O’ Brien, Dublin – 65-year-old YouTube fan who enjoys watching funny home videos on the video sharing site as well as keeping in touch with her children through email. Maureen has Parkinsons disease and MS which means that she has very limited physical movement and uses a motorised wheelchair for her mobility. She had never used a computer before but was very keen to learn as her daughter was expecting a baby in England. Although Maureen’s main reason at the start was to Skype her daughter she had done so much more besides this. Maureen was nominated for her enthusiastic approach to computers and the Internet.  She uses them on a regular basis to engage online with her family and community of friends. She uses facebook, email and Skype to keep in contact with people.

Nominated by: Deirdre Rowe, Occupational Therapy Manager, Our Lady’s Hospice.

  • Silver Networker

Liam Kirwan, Offaly – 70-year-old grandfather who loves all forms of communication technologies, particularly Skype so he can keep in touch with his grandchildren. He is a key driving force behind his local parish website www.tullamoreparish.ie <http://www.tullamoreparish.ie> and is often found at parish and local events taking photos with his digital camera, which are published on the parish webpage.  He can even edit the photos himself using Photoshop.  He has also had his photographs published in the local newspapers. He is never far from his iPod touch and loves finding Apps on it that his grandchildren enjoy. His granddaughter Grainne, who nominated him is a psychology lecturer and it was Liam’s interest in the brain training applications on the Nintendo DS that inspired a research project that she is carrying out which is attempting to determine if brain training games really do improve cognitive function in older adults.

Nominated by Grainne Kirwan, Dublin

  • Golden IT Award – Special Award

Daniel Hoare, Cork – 102-year-old Daniel speaks to his son in Fiji on Skype and has also recently learnt how to send emails. Daniel is originally from Birr, Co Offaly and is living with his daughter and son-in-law in Skibbereen, Co. Cork.  His daughter is currently teaching him how to use Google. Daniel cooks his own meals, plays bridge and goes on a daily walk.
Daniel is the recipient of a special award this year, the Golden IT Award.

Nominated by his son-in-law Jim Kennedy

Minister for Older People and Health Promotion Aine Brady T.D
said at the awards “Given the challenging times that we are in, we must be creative in finding new ways to help and encourage older people to use new technologies – the 3 Silver Surfer Awards are a brilliant  example  of this. The Awards have totally disproved the misconception that older people are not interested in learning or using new technology. All who have been nominated for these Age Action awards are ambassadors for older people, and society should widely celebrate this.  Age is no barrier to learning technology!”

3’s National Broadband Scheme Director, Damien Gallagher commented “It is never too late to learn something new, and people like our 3 Silver Surfer award winners are an inspiration to older people across the country that would like to try new technologies to improve their day-to-day lives. Everyone in the country can access high quality broadband thanks to the National Broadband Scheme rolled out by 3 – neither age nor location is a barrier now for those who wish to do things they never thought possible with the internet, IT and mobile phones”.

“The stories of the winners and those shortlisted highlight the huge benefits which new technology offers older people.  Too often, technology is seen as being the exclusive domain of younger people, when in reality it offers tremendous opportunities for older people.”  Robin Webster, CEO, Age Action.

The 3 Silver Surfer Awards with Age Action were launched in September and hundreds of nominations were submitted to Age Action in all categories, a real sign of the interest and enthusiasm for new technologies with older people around the country.

Darragh Doyle, social-networking guru and blogger, Katriona O’Leary, Campaign Marketing Manager with 3 Ireland and Ciara Sherlock Events Manager with Age Action, completed judging of nominations and were blown away by some of the amazing stories.

All winners won some impressive prizes from 3 including a Samsung Galaxy tablet, Smartphones and of course the cache of being known as Ireland’s 3 Silver Surfer 2010!