Ninety-year-old Sam gets to grips with modern technology during lockdown

Ciara Maguire


Ciara Maguire


Friday 1 May 2020 13:00

AT 90-YEARS-OLD Sam Martin has proven that age is no barrier to getting to grips with modern technology.

The well-known Strabane man has been learning how to use Amazon Alexa in order to keep in touch with his family during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sam has been isolating at his home for several weeks now since the outbreak but remains in high spirits.

Taking advantage of the recent spell of good weather, he is keeping himself busy by spending most of his time tending to his garden.

"I am doing all right and getting by," he said. "You just have to get on with it and take it day by day.

"I've plenty of gardening to do so I've been spending a lot of my time out there doing the odd bit.

“It keeps me busy and it's nice to get out too."

Thankfully for Sam, before lockdown kicked in he was able to celebrate his milestone 90th birthday back in March.

"It was my birthday on March 14 so my family had a big party for me up in the Manor House (Fermanagh) just before lockdown.

"It's always nice to celebrate these moments but the celebrations are over for the time being. Let's hope that we can all get together soon and celebrate when this is over," he added.

During his time in isolation Sam says he has been enjoying the company of 'Alexa' which he is also using to play some of his favourite music.

"My family have installed it here - I can't mention her name because she answers me! It's a handy device.

"She can play me an odd song an odd time which is good company when you're in on your own. It was my grandson Christopher and his wife, Claire, who set it all up."

A former councillor on the old Strabane District Council, Sam has also previously served as chairman of Strabane Lifford Development Commission and West Tyrone Rural 2000.

He is also one of the founding members of the Rotary Club of Strabane-Lifford which marked its 50th anniversary recently and has held many roles within the organisation.

Over the years he has witnessed many changes but even he admits none of it comes close to the current pandemic gripping the world.

"There have been many changes down the years but these are terrible times. This virus is a disaster.

"No one knows how long this will last. For now, we're just hoping for the best.

"I have noticed far more cars on the road this past couple of days with people seemingly out driving about now in spite of the warnings," he said.

And, while he misses the freedom of being able to get out and about himself, Sam is confident normal life will return soon.

"I miss getting out and about of course, but we've been told to stay in and you have to listen to the experts. When the restrictions are lifted, I will take the car and go out a run some morning.

"For now, I'll stay busy in the garden. My family are very good to me. They phone and get on this machine (Alexa) sometimes.

"My daughter Jennifer and her husband Charlie bring me my groceries and meals every day. They bring me whatever I need including the paper - the Strabane Weekly News - which I read every week!"

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