A Plymouth woman who lost touch with her family for more than 20 years has finally been reunited with them – after discovering how to use the internet for the first time.
Susan Walker, 57, who lives in a Plymouth Community Homes (PCH) housing with support scheme in Southway, finally met up with her sister Sharon Faris again after contacting her via Skype.
Sharon has been living on the Caribbean island of Bermuda for the past 20 years but arranged to come back to her home town of Plymouth to visit family, including Susan.
Susan was able to get in contact with Sharon again after chatting online through Skype.
She says she would never have made contact with her sister if it wasn’t for some online training sessions she attended organised by Plymouth SeniorNet.
Susan learned how to use search engines and in the process, discovered the whereabouts of Sharon.
The two sisters met up again before Sharon headed off to see other family members around the country.
Susan said: “We were close as we were growing up but we all went our separate ways. I lost touch when she went to Bermuda. I moved around a lot. She’d got married and I didn’t even know her married name.
“I simply Googled her. I typed her name in and that was it. She came right up; it was so fast. All that at the press of a button. We’ve been in touch ever since.
“Until I had those lessons, I couldn’t have got in contact with anyone. Those lessons really helped to open up a whole new world for me.
“I’ve also been in touch with my brother, stepdad and sister-in-law. I didn’t know where they were living. I lost everybody’s names and addresses.
“My sister-in-law is doing a trip around Europe and she’s been Skyping me from wherever she is. So far, I’ve been to Belgium, Holland, France and Spain!
“I’m over the moon to have met up with family again. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I see my sister again.”
Plymouth SeniorNet aims to transform the lives of older people in Plymouth by helping them get online and access services, information and support with day-to-day needs.
They have held a number of sessions in PCH housing with support schemes in recent months.
That’s not the only help Susan has received. Collectrical, a city-based community interest company which repairs, refurbishes and donates electrical equipment, heard about Susan’s discovery and donated a desktop computer to her so she could keep in contact with her reunited family.
“We donated the PC to Susan after hearing about the great work Plymouth SeniorNet had done with her with regards to finding family,” said Sonia and Alex from Collectrical.
“We heard she was not in a position to be able to afford a set up and thought it would be a shame if she could not continue contacting her family.”
Words courtesy of the Plymouth Herald.