Tag Archives: Pat Rabbitte

Silver Surfer Awards 2013 with Google and Age Action

I was delighted to receive an invitation  for myself and a guest to the award ceremony for the Google Silver Surfer Awards with Age Action, which took place in Dublin  on Wednesday last. I was thrilled to be back in Google, with Louise, for the first time since I won the  Social Networking Award in 2011, and to meet again with the stalwarts of Age Action – Robin Webster, Eamon Timmins and Pauline Power.

Google  epitomizes everything that is young, innovative and fun. This is clear from the moment you step through the front door! All the more wonderful then that they sponsor the annual Silver Surfer Awards that celebrate older people and technology. A perfect marriage in many ways.

The ceremony took place in the spacious and comfortable state of the art Google auditorium. We were entertained by the talented Bugle Babes with their Andrews Sisters type repertoire and  harmonies, and their (perfectly straight) seamed stockings (George Hook checked them out).Their singing was beautiful and well enjoyed by everyone!

The ever young George Hook, broadcaster, journalist and rugby pundit hosted  the ceremony with great wit and humour, and Mr Pat Rabbitte, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources attended – both of whom are, appropriately enough, Seniors.  Minister Rabbitte expressed the wish that no senior citizen be left behind in this era of  instant communication.  Sinead Gibney, Social Action Manager with Google, and Robin Webster, the indefatigable Chief Executive of Age Action were also present. Sinead  treated us to a reading of the poem ‘When I am old’, which can be seen on my blog page here . Pauline Power who operates the Getting Started Programme with Age Action and Anne Marie Walsh, the Event Manager, ensured that things flowed smoothly.

And so to the fabulous people whose terrific achievements were to be honoured at these awards. There were several categories as follows:

New to IT Award
A person over the age of 50 who is new to technology and has overcome challenges to become an IT user

Finalists were:

Austin was the winner of this category. His story is inspirational – having left school early he had some catching up to do in later life and this he did using technology. He has written a biography for his family.

Hobbies on the Net Award was next with 5 finalists

An older person who uses the Internet to pursue their passion or hobby or who uses IT for communication and social networking

I was particularly interested in this category as my ears pricked up when I heard the name Seamus Harkin from Creeslough. Creeslough is 7 mile s from my home village of Carrigart, Co Donegal.  On an all-too-rare visit back to my roots this summer, we were in search of the site of  a former 19th Century  Revenue Barracks in Creeslough. We were given Seamus Harkin’s phone number. Seamus Harkin is all things Creeslough and is a highly respected fountain of all sorts of historical knowledge in this particular area   He was most helpful and accommodating. We spoke several times by phone, but I had not met him until today, so that was a particularly pleasant meeting!  Thanks again Seamus for sharing your knowledge  and time with us.

Seamus is known as the Singing Undertaker at home and he fixes fiddles  as a hobby- how interesting is that!  Well done on this achievement Seamus agus  Tír Chonaill Abú!

IT Tutor(s) of the year 

An individual or group of any age who provides voluntary support to older learners. Anne won this award for her work in upskilling some 40 tutors. Anne is from Louth and were other nominees – Drogheda & District Support 4 Older People.  Small county with big hearts for older people!

Golden IT Award
An individual over the age of 80 who uses technology to enhance their lives

 

I love the Golden category – here are people of advanced years who have engaged with what can be a challenging medium – perhaps they came to it after losing a life partner –  and here they have found a new way of doing things, new ways to keep in touch, and have enhanced their lives.  Michael was the winner this year. He has long been an advocate of technology and encourages older people especially to use it . Michael has a blog  The Commonplace Book that is worth a visit for the quotes alone!  The judges for all of these categories had a challenging task to pick just one from each of these categories as they are heroes all!

Google Silver Surfer Award

An older person who embraces the Internet or technology with a sense of fun and adventure.

The winner of this over arching award was David,  who has become something of a techie since his retirement and has indulged his passions for music and digital photography, and entertains his grandchildren with his technical expertise!  With Apologies to Maura and Fred for the blurred photographs. Michael in this category was an inspiration to all of us – he suffered a stroke but then used his experience to help others and technology is a perfect medium for him. Well done to you all!

This is an appropriate place to give a huge shout out for Age Action Ireland   This is a n Irish Charity that promotes positive ageing and  better policies and services for older people. Age Action is regularly in the news headlines speaking out about issues that affect all of us who are older and more vulnerable. Ageing is an issue that hopefully will affect all of us of every age.  Do drop in to their webpage  here to see the wonderful work that they do, – work that enhances the lives of thousands of people and of society as a whole.

At a delicious and beautifully presented  lunch afterwards ,entertainment was provided by the excellent  and splendidly named barbershop quartet, the Sea Sharps .

It was a great event and hearty congratulations again to all the finalists  – winners all!

As  we left the premises,I couldn’t resist taking a shot of the decoration in the washrooms.

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The very colourful landing  with floor, walls and ceiling covered with faces – after all that is what Google is all about –  people of ALL ages!

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Further biographical info  on the winners can be found here

Thank you Google, and thank you Age Action!

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October 6, 2013 · 1:15 pm

Google Silver Surfer Awards with Age Action 2011

Seven  Silver Surfer Awards for 2011 were handed out in the ceremony at Google Headquarters in Dublin recently. Three finalists were shortlisted in seven categories. The shortlisted entrants were chosen for the dedication and passion they showed in their quest to get online, regardless of their age.  Hearty congratulations to all the amazing people who were nominated and a ‘well done’ to the award winners!

The recipient of the Golden IT Award was 90-year-old Larry Wilmott.Larry lives in a nursing home and has over the past 3 years learned all about computers. He is now active on Facebook, Twitter and Skype.  Larry’s achievements were recognized by Sarah Jenkinson who works at Larry’s nursing home and who nominated him for the award. 

Dorothy Harrington, a 76-year-old grandmother-of-four from Sandymount, Dublin,was the overall winner of the Google Silver Surfer Award with Age Action. Dorothy, proudly nominated by her husband Paddy, sold their home online, saving a small fortune in professional fees. She then went on to find a new home online, where they now live.  She also makes Christmas cards and conducts  much of their business online and has enormous fun doing so.

The Family Tutor Award is open to anyone UNDER the age of 50 and the winner was the lovely 12 year-old  Aine Fleming  from Kildare, who patiently helped her grandmother get to grips with her laptop, and who says that accessing the internet has changed her life for the better. Aine’s Aunt, Kathleen King, nominated Aine  for the award.

Penny Pennefeather,62, from Wicklow computerized the scoring system for her Bridge Club of over 400 people and enthusiastically undertook to help other members come to grips with the new system. Nominated by her daughter, Jane Court, Penny was the worthy winner of the Hobbies on the Net Award.

The Winner of the Most Dedicated IT Learner Award was 53-year-old  Bernie Wansboro, from Swords, Co Dublin who taught herself basic computing skills using computer manuals. She then bought a laptop that has opened up a whole new world for her.  Bernie nominated herself for this category, and anyone who has ever tried to read a computer manual can only be in awe of her wonderful achievement!

James Richardson from Dublin was Winner of the IT Volunteer of the Year Award. This award which was open to people of all ages went to 63-year-old James who has helped over 1,500 older  people learn basic computer and word processing skills over the past 7 years. James was nominated by colleagues who  are impressed with his patience and empathy at the community based non-profit organization in Coolock. 

The winner of  the Social Networker Award was myself, 63-year-old Angela Gallagher,from Co. Limerick.  With the initial help and extraordinary patience of my son Damian, who lives a considerable distance away,my blog and Facebook page got up and running.  ‘ A Silver Voice from Ireland’  looks at issues facing older people as well as  our social history and our diaspora and has opened up a whole new world to me. 

Speaking at the awards ceremony the  Minister for Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources,  Mr Pat Rabbitte said: “The Internet is no longer the exclusive domain of the young or indeed the technically oriented.  A happy convergence of peer pressure, reducing costs, more user-friendly devices and smarter software design is encouraging us all to go on-line. Today’s winners are champions in the application of peer pressure. They have not let their age hold them back from being part of Ireland’s digital society and are setting a wonderful example for people of all ages.”  
Sinéad Gibney, Social Action Manager, Google Ireland said: “This year we have seen a 50% increase in nominations for the Google Silver Surfer Awards with Age Action which shows how many people over-50 are determined not to be left behind by new technology. At Google we are committed to helping people of all ages get online and to help them get the most from the Internet. These awards provide us with a fantastic platform to celebrate older people who have embraced modern technology and are reaping the benefits it has to offer. Everyone shortlisted today should be very proud of their achievements.” 

Age Action Chief Executive Robin Webster said: “Computer skills are becoming increasingly important for everyone, enabling a person to keep abreast of what is happening in society and providing them with the means of having their voice heard.  Some older people are still unsure as to whether or not they will be able to learn how to use a computer. Today’s winners should be an example to them of how people of all ages can attain these IT skills and how these skills can greatly enrich the quality of their lives. I would urge all older people who do not know how to use a computer not to be afraid and explore it. Learning how to use a computer and how to navigate the Internet can be a life-changing experience.”

Thanks to Google for a wonderful event, and to Age Action, a very special charity deserving of our support.  Ciara Sherlock Events Manager at Age Action Ireland was extraordinarily friendly and helpful. Minister Pat Rabbitte and three of the candidates in the upcoming Presidential election in Ireland   – Michael D Higgins, Martin McGuinness and Sean Gallagher, together with the MC – TV Personality  Derek Davis,made it a very special and memorable event for all the participants.  Thank you all!

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Filed under Celebrations in Ireland, Living in Ireland, Social Networking, Uncategorized

The Silver Voice Blog wins Social Networking Award

Séan Gallagher, Presidential Candidate, presents the Social Networking Award.

Age Action Ireland is a charity which promotes positive ageing and better policies and services for older people. In association with Google they run the Silver Surfer Awards, which celebrates older people who have embraced information technology for pleasure or as a way of enhancing their lives. Nominations were sought for 5 categories – Most Dedicated IT Learner; Hobbies on the Net; IT Volunteer of the Year, Family Tutor and  Social Networking Award. In addition the hunt was on for a person over 90 for the Golden IT Award and an older person who embraces internet technology with a sense of fun for the title ‘Google Silver Surfer of the year 2011 with Age Action’. The awards ceremony was held at Google HQ in Dublin on 27  September. Noted Irish TV Personality Derek Davis was Master of Ceremonies, while Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte was also in attendance. Three of Ireland’s Presidential Candidates,  Michael D. Higgins, Martin McGuinness and Sean Gallagher, were on hand to present the awards.

I was both surprised and shocked to discover that this blog led to my being

Damian Shiels, who nominated me for the award, and Michael D Higgins,Presidential Candidate.

shortlisted in the Social Networking category, and even more astonished when it was revealed that The Silver Voice had won! There were some truly special nominees and winners present on the day, and I was humbled to be among them. I would like to thank Age Action Ireland and Google for a wonderful day out, and for organising a marvellous event.  Damian Shiels was the person who nominated me in the first place and it was good that he was also present to share the occasion. Many thanks as well to those of you who read my (sometimes diverse!) ramblings, and hopefully there will be many more posts to come in the future!

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Filed under Blogging, Older Generation, Social Networking