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IT guru Phil Birch hands Sandwich-based computer support group Highway Training over

By Eleanor Perkins

The work of a man who helped technophobes get up to speed with the digital revolution has been honoured.

More than 100 people attended a celebration day at the Sandwich Guildhall in honour of Phil Birch, who is retiring from the day-to-day running of Sandwich-based computer support group Highway Training.

The community-based organisation provides computer learning and support for all abilities.

Phil Birch, Cllr Dan Friend and Sandwich Mayor Paul Graeme

Phil Birch, Cllr Dan Friend and Sandwich Mayor Paul Graeme

Mr Birch, who established it in 2001, is now handing over the reins to Cllr Dan Friend, already well known for his work in the town.

He said: “I’ve loved every minute of being involved but the time has now come for me to ‘hang up my mouse’ and I’m so pleased that Dan is committed to the continuing success of Highway.”

From web surfing and e-mailing to catch-up TV and online shopping, Mr Birch has helped thousands of people get to grips with modern technology.

His regular support sessions are run around Kent, including in Deal, Dover and Sandwich providing people with a plain-English approach to desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Sandwich mayor Cllr Paul Graeme also attended the event, handing out framed thank-you certificates to 16 volunteers.

The audience listened to Phil Birch's farewell speech

The audience listened to Phil Birch's farewell speech

He said: “I was delighted when Phil asked me to present the certificates to the volunteers that have helped make Highway such a great help to people across east and mid Kent who need assistance with technology.

“The friendly and reassuring approach by Phil and his team has helped so many to get to grips with their computers, tablets and smartphones.

“Congratulations on the last 16 years!”

The next session is at the Guildhall in Sandwich from 9.30am until 12.30pm on Wednesday, October 11.

No appointment is needed.Just take your laptop or tablet for advice.

Highway Learning and Support has been helping people to get to grips with technology since 2001

Highway Learning and Support has been helping people to get to grips with technology since 2001

Cllr Friend said: “I appreciate the responsibility that I’m taking on, but I’m both honoured and excited to take the helm.

“I’ve worked with Phil for the past few months, and look forward to building on the reputation that Highway has achieved.”

Visit www.hilas.org.uk to find out more.

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