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#MakeFredFamous: 91-year-old becomes internet sensation with birthday selfie

22-Aug-17
Article By: Melissa McAlees

A 91-year-old man from Burntwood has become a social media sensation after a photograph of him celebrating his birthday went viral.

Fred Wright's first selfie

Fred Wright took a selfie celebrating his birthday when he attended the Computer Social Group at St Giles Hospice in Lichfield, Staffordshire.

The oldest member of the group has since seen his picture shared more than 45,000 times on Twitter and liked by almost 40,000 users.

St Giles community engagement manager, Ian Leech, said: “Fred’s a fantastic example of someone who is still learning in their tenth decade so it seems a brilliant opportunity to show that on social media.

“We expected maybe a hundred likes on Facebook and some retweets but we really didn’t expect the response we got.

“It’s been absolutely wonderful to see such an amazing wave of lovely messages, pictures and videos from across the internet.”

’I never expected to be famous’

Since posting the image, Fred has received birthday wishes from around the world, including those from celebrities Boy George, Janice Long and Barbara Dickinson.

Fred’s technology journey started when a family member bought him a tablet and he joined the computer group to get online.

“I spotted a story in the local paper about the group and decided to go along. It’s been lovely to learn so much and to be part of the group, which is really friendly,” he said.

“I never expected to be famous like this but it’s great to be able to help the club and the hospice.

“I use the internet for things like YouTube – I love opera and follow singers on there and as an artist, I enjoy watching other artists paint. I’ve also had a look on Facebook and I’m thinking about Twitter, although I might need a bit of help setting it up.”

’It’s never too late to start learning'

St Giles chief executive officer, Emma Hodges, said the response to #MakeFredFamous has been ‘phenomenal’ and demonstrates the positive impact of social media.

She added: “Our volunteer led computer group encourages local people to come together, chat, learn and make new friends.

“Fred’s story really shows that it’s never too late to start learning and we’ve seen so many positive stories shared about older people engaging with technology.

“It’s also been great for us as it shows that hospices aren’t places where people go to die, they are part of a vibrant community which help people live full lives.”

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