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Webmaster from an older generation

PUBLISHED: 14:33 02 July 2009 | UPDATED: 15:17 07 July 2010

IS this the oldest village webmaster in mid-Norfolk?

Forget computer whizz-kids - great-grandfather Paddy Apling has got four-score years and more of life's experiences behind him and still loves keeping up with the latest technological advancements.

IS this the oldest village webmaster in mid-Norfolk?

Forget computer whizz-kids - great-grandfather Paddy Apling has got four-score years and more of life's experiences behind him and still loves keeping up with the latest technological advancements.

So, when the chance arose to put together and manage the website for the parish council serving the communities of Cranworth, Letton, Southburgh and Woodrising, the 84-year-old former army officer and retired food scientist leapt at the chance - and got busy with the mouse.

Paddy, a widower, served with the 4th Royal Tank Regiment at the end of the second world war, when Morse code - which he can still remember - was a vital means of communication. He learned to drive Cromwell, Sherman and Comet tanks and served in occupied Italy but says he never fired a shot in anger.

Later, during a career that included lecturing at Reading University and consultancy work in the food and water industries, he watched computer technology progress from punch cards and lumbering great machines to the compact, high-speed gizmos of today.

“The internet is just huge as a communication tool and information exchange,” he said. “The advances have been fantastic.”

Apart from looking after the parish council site, which is now up-and-running, Paddy has his own pages - to be found at http://apling.freeservers.

com/ - which among other things contain “something for every village in Norfolk”, including items on social history and complete indexes of surnames from the 1891 census.

While Paddy enjoys logging on each day to read edp24, updating his sites and keeping in touch with the family - son Alan, daughter Susan in France, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren - he is not tied to the computer screen. For he also loves tending the garden of his Woodrising home, stamp collecting and travelling the country and overseas in his motorhome.

Paddy's advice to eightysomethings wary of taking the first steps towards surfing the internet? “Just grasp the nettle, because it is a marvellous way to communicate across the world. You can keep in contact with family and friends, learn new things, even discover relatives overseas you never knew you had,” he says.

You can visit the parish council website at http://eoe.xarg.co.uk/

cranworth-parish-council/

Do you know of a webmaster

older than Paddy? Then do let

the Times know! Email tim.warner@archant.co.uk

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