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Eric Shackle Writes: Never Too Old o Be On-Line

You are never too old to be on-line, as veteran journalist Eric Shackle reveals.

Eric features a 103-year-old Yorkshirte lass, Ivy Bean, the oldest person registered on Facebook.

For more of Eric's columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/eric_shackle_writes/

After a lifetime of obscurity, this British great-grandmother, Ivy Bean, who will be 103 on Sept. 8, has rocketed to world fame.


Because friends at her care home in Bradford, Yorkshire, set up a group called "Oldest person on Facebook" and regularly post news, photos and videos about her on the Internet.

Her homely personality has struck a common chord, and hundreds of dead-tree newspapers and thousands of electronic Web sites have published stories about her.

The social networking Facebook claims it has more than 90 million active users, and Ivy's friends believe she's the oldest of them all.

Here's the text of the Facebook page, headed Oldest Persons on Facebook - Ivy Bean: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=67377155437

I would like to introduce Mrs Ivy Bean, "the new" oldest person registered on Facebook.

Ivy Bean (nee Asquith) was born in Bradford on the 8th September 1905.

She is one of 8 children. Ivy went to school at James Street school in Thornton and left at 14 to go and work at Prospect Mill. During her time at the mill, she worked firstly in spinning and then in the winding department.

Ivy later married Harold Bean, who was a soldier in the Royal Army Service Corps. He later transferred to the Army Catering Corps where he was stationed in North Africa.

After Harold left the army he and Ivy went to work in service for the Lord and Lady Guinness at Greens Norton Hall in Northampton. It was during their time there that they had their only daughter, Sandra.

After working in Bedford, the family came back to Bradford and Ivy began working for Arthur Crossland, a local mill owner. She had worked for Arthur for about 18 years when sadly, he passed away and she decided it was time to retire.

Having only been retired a couple of months, Ivy got fed up and returned to work for Mr Crossland's daughter, Mrs Hutchinson, in a small office in Harrogate.

Several years later, Ivy retired for the second time, aged 73. A little while after, her beloved husband Harold passed away, aged 75.

It was after this, Ivy realised her passion for crown green bowling, where she met many friends.

At the age of 92, Ivy had to go into a residential home and stayed there for 10 years until the home closed down. It was at this point, she came to stay with us at Hillside Manor, just one week before her 102nd birthday.

Ivy has a loving family. One daughter, Sandra Logan, two grandsons, Andrew and Gareth Ledgard and three great grandchildren, Nicole, Choloe and Sam Ledgard, who come to visit her regularly.

When speaking with Ivy regarding her Facebook profile, her only comment was: "I am looking forward to receiving my next telegram from the queen in two years' time.

Writing in The Yorkshire Post, Fiona Evans revealed interesting details of Ivy's background:

Mrs Bean started working in a Bradford [cotton] mill when she was 14 and later went on to work for Lord and Lady Guinness in Northampton, where she washed dishes. Her late husband, Harold, worked as a cook and butler.

Googling "Lord and Lady Guinness" suggests that Ivy could tell great tales about the late Bryan Walter Guinness, 2nd Baron Moyne (1905-1992)

Described as a handsome, charming young man, Guinness was an eligible bachelor. In 1929, he married the Hon. Diana Mitford, one of the Mitford sisters, and they had two sons.

Bryan and Diana became leaders of the London artistic and social scene. They divorced in 1933, after she had deserted him for the British fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley. Three years later, Guinness married Elisabeth Nelson and fathered nine more children.

In 1944, while serving as a liaison officer, he succeeded to the barony when his father, posted abroad as Resident Minister in the Middle East by his friend Winston Churchill, was assassinated in Cairo.

After WWII, Lord Moyne served on the board of the Guinness Corporation, and on several Irish trusts and artistic committees. He wrote numerous novels, memoirs, books of poetry, and plays.

News of Ivy being Facebook's oldest member spread quickly and globally.

"The world has changed radically during Ivy's lifetime," Claire Bates wrote in the London Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1045158/Meet-Ivy-Bean--worlds-oldest-Facebooker-aged-102.html?ITO=1490 "When she was born Henry Campbell-Bannerman was Prime Minister of Britain - the first to ever officially hold the title.

"At that time telegrams were the fastest way of communicating and a national telephone network was still seven years away. Ivy would have to wait 46 years until the first computer was invented."

The New York Daily News http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2008/08/15/2008-08-15_102yearold_grandma_is_oldest_person_on_f.html said "Ivy Bean may have been born 46 years before the first computer, but that hasn't stopped the savvy senior from tapping in to the online world of social networking."

The London Daily Mirror published an amusing report http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2008/08/15/pictures-the-oap-olympics-115875-20698511/ by Andy Rudd which began:

On your marks, get set, go.....very slowly!

Forget Beijing, the most exciting sports competition is taking place at an old people's home where pensioners are going for gold in the OAP [Old Age Pensioner] Olympics.

Residents at Hillside Manor care home in Yorkshire have been getting into the Olympic spirit by staging their own over 75-year-olds' version which includes walking stick javelin, cap launching and the zimmer frame 'sprint'.

Ivy proved her spirit by winning the gold medal for the discus throw, and Facebook members can see her doing so, in a brief video linked to her Web page.

By a happy coincidence, Californian author Annie Barrows has written a book called Ivy + Bean http://www.bookpage.com/0607bp/children/ivy_and_bean.html (but it appeals to youngsters rather than oldies).


Onliners 90 and over (as of August 20, 2008)

Ivy Bean - Bradford, Yorkshire, UK: September 8, 1905 (Oldest Facebooker) 102

Frank Pelatowski - Merced, California: August 10, 1907 (Oldest Columnist) 101

Ken Sillcock - Melbourne, Australia: October 24, 1910 (2nd Oldest Columnist) 97

Maria Amelia Lopez - Galicia, Spain December 23, 1911 (Oldest Female Blogger) 96

Henry Jackson - London, UK: June 12, 1912 (Most Amusing Old Columnist) 96

Allan Loof - Finspang, Sweden: August 7, 1912 (Most Musical Old Blogger) 96

Randall Butisingh -- Florida: December 1, 1912 (Most Philosophical Old Blogger) 95

Ray (Dad) White - Knoxville, Tennessee: September 2, 1913 (Best Tomato-Growing O.B.) 94

Donald Crowdis - Toronto, Canada: December 24, 1913 (Most Erudite Old Blogger) 94

Roll of Honor

Age at Final Post

Ruth Hamilton - Orlando, Florida: 1898-2008 (World's Oldest Blogger until June 2008) 109

Olive Riley - Woy Woy, Australia: 1899-2008 (World's Oldest Blogger after June 2008) 108


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