Margaret makes the miles melt

Margaret Whitaker who regularly Skypes her relatives in New Zealand and Australia after help from Jonathan Marsh.

Margaret Whitaker who regularly Skypes her relatives in New Zealand and Australia after help from Jonathan Marsh.

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Keeping in touch with her two sons has just become a whole lot easier for Brighouse pensioner Margaret Whitaker.

The 77-year-old former teacher has turned to technology to help her speak to her sons Mark in Australia and Stuart in New Zealand.

Keeping in touch was a laborious business until Margaret’s neice Jill and husband Jonathan Marsh taught her how to use Skype.

“It’s been brilliant for me,” said Margaret. “At first I was a bit hesitant about seeing them, I only wanted to talk to them, because I thought it would upset me too much.

“But now I love it. When Mark moved into his new home he was able to show me all round - it was just like being there!”

It was through Jonathan’s encouragement that Margaret bought a lap-top and then learned how to use the internet and email.

“A lot of older people are scared of using computers and I can understand why,” said the grandmother-of-two. “It is very confusing at first and it helps to have someone with time and patience to guide you through.”

Jonathan’s view is that a lot of people who are new to computers don’t know which programmes are going to be useful and which they don’t need to worry about.

“It can be completely overwhelming at first. Margaret started off wanting to be able to use Skype but she’s now happy using email and the internet as her confidence has grown.”

Jonathan, of Sunnybank Road, Brighouse, conducts energy performance surveys but now he has set up a service offering computer tuition for individuals and small groups.

“Helping Margaret has made me realise there is a need for friendly, patient computer advice. There are classes out there but it can be hard for people to relate what they are learning in class to their own PCs.”

Jonathan’s charges start at £10 a session. For more information contact 01484 714476.