The Internet Gives Arthur A New Lease Of Life – And Daughter Sue Peace Of Mind
01 Oct 2016
When Sue Evans showed her now 87-year-old Dad how to use a computer, she had no idea what a lifeline it would become for him, or how it would help them stay connected. Now ex-London cabbie Arthur Mills is online every day - and he’s even helping others get to grips with technology, too.
Arthur from London explains: “I think that Sue introducing me to the internet has given me extra life - I’m convinced of that. I don’t think I’d be around by now if I didn’t have that, I really don’t. The internet is my life, now. It’s the first thing I do in the morning - I grab my iPad or phone and see who’s messaged me.”
“I can tell when I speak to Dad whether he’s been online or not,” says Sue, “because if he’s got interested and engaged in something he’s all enthusiastic and happy. It’s great. I find it invaluable because I can keep in touch with him - and keep an eye on him! So that’s really important to me. It’s just inspired us really hasn’t it?”
“We’re in touch all the time, now,” agrees Arthur. We text each other, email, WhatsApp messages. And about once or twice a week maybe, Sue and I Skype. So that’s just like being in the same room.”
Sue continues: “I’ve just moved to Cornwall, and that’s a long way from London. I honestly don’t know if I’d have moved that far away if I thought I couldn’t be in touch with Dad like this. We’ll literally talk about what we’re watching on telly, the football results, or we’ll take pictures of what we’re doing and send them. Dad says the technology makes it feel like we always together - even when we’re 200 plus miles away!”
“It’s fantastic,” declares Arthur. “And it’s so easy, it really is. It’s just about use. Once you start using something and you do it regularly, it’s like breathing.”
Arthur happily admits he didn’t know anything about computers when he started out. He says: “I went to down to Sue’s to visit, as I do, and she showed me this new computer. I see the back of it and I say ‘Oh you’ve got a new telly, have you?’ She says ‘No Dad, it’s a computer’. Well I said, ‘What do they do, then?’ I didn’t have a clue! I’d barely even heard of them. Then Sue turned it on and showed me a clip of a video of my football team in the closed season playing against an Austrian side in a friendly game. Well my eyes just widened. That was it.”
“It really was!” laughs Sue. “We got him all set up at home and he’s not looked back since, he’s just kept going and learning more and more. He’s even taught me a thing or two!”
“Sue doesn’t do Instagram, you see,” says Arthur. “So if there’s a picture from friends or family on there I think she’d like to see, I send her a photograph of it by Dropbox!”
Arthur is now in touch with nieces and nephews, and his two grandsons. He explains: “Michael’s just finished at University and Darren’s just finished a six week tour of America, but we can all keep in touch and message each other. It’s been great.”
There was only so much that Sue could show Arthur from Cornwall, so after spotting an advert in the local paper, Arthur’s started going along to a local Online Centre to learn more about the internet. “I rang them up,” says Arthur, “and asked if I could come along. I said, ‘Look, I’m an old guy, does that matter?’ And they said ‘No, come along - everyone’s welcome.’ And I’ve been going along ever since.
“I like it because first of all you’re socialising - you’re not sat indoors on your own. The next thing is all the extras they’ve taught me to do.They taught me to shop online, I do my banking online - I do everything online now. It’s so much easier for people - and even better - it’s really brought me out of myself, too.
“I used to be a very shy person, but I’ve got over that, you see. Now I can talk to other people at the centre and show them what to do, myself. I think everybody ought to learn how to use internet, and if I can teach someone, it’s fantastic. I love it.”
That’s why Arthur - alongside Sue - volunteered to be models for this year’s national Get Online Week, which aims to encourage the 12.6 million Brits without basic digital skills to get online and give the internet a go.
Sue says: “If there’s people out there with parents who aren’t online, I’d really recommend they get them along to a Get Online Week event - it really could give them a whole new lease of life, just like it’s done for Dad.”
“Trust me,” says Arthur, “If I can do it, so can you! Find yourself an event and give it a try.