Dee, now president of Our Lady’s Island Guild in Wexford, was one of six nominated in the ‘hobbies on the net’ category of the Age Action-run awards, which are sponsored by Google and which celebrate older people and technology.
Originally from London and an ICA member for 14 years, Dee has had a Facebook page for the past four years and bought herself a computer 13 years ago when she saw her grandson, Bobby, then seven, doing computer classes at school.
“I thought ‘he knows more about this than me. I need to learn so I can help him’. He used to come in after school and look up things for homework and play games because Nanny had a computer.”
Her older grandchildren have also benefited from this interest. “When my granddaughter, Erin, who’s 15, was doing a project on Marilyn Monroe, we were able to print off some pictures. Similarly, when my 10-year-old granddaughter, Ellie, was doing a history project on the Stone Age — we were able to print stuff off.” Dee has five daughters, three of whom live in England. “I Skype them — it’s great fun.”
She also posts on Facebook any Wexford ICA doings, such as their recent excursion to see Wicked at the Bord Gáis Theatre. “Two coachloads went. We also visited Avoca Handweavers and we had dinner at the Glenview Hotel, Glen of the Downs. If we’re going anywhere, I go onto Google Maps.”
Dee attended the Silver Surfer Award ceremony at the Google offices with national ICA president Liz Wall and her granddaughter, Erin. “George Hook was the commentator. He said he had one complaint — that he couldn’t join [in the organisation] the lovely ladies in ICA.”
Dee does a lot of voluntary work for ICA as a recruitment officer. She confirms that the organisation got 100 members in Wexford alone in 2013, 40 out of a poster campaign at Bannow and Rathangan Show, while 20 more belong to the recently-founded Gorey Guild. “I opened three guilds in the last three years,” she says. When she receives names of potential members from head office, she phones them to determine their exact location and which local guild would best suit them. “I then text the guild secretary to make an appointment for the person to visit the guild.”
She’s not at all surprised that so many younger women and retired ladies are looking to join ICA. “It’s like another family outside of your own family.”