An end to family’s isolation

The Turner family (from left) Daniel, Duncan, Robert, Patrick and Linda.
The Turner family (from left) Daniel, Duncan, Robert, Patrick and Linda.

A family of five from rural north Northumberland are the lucky winners of a satellite broadband system,which is set to transform their lives.

At the end of September, the Gazette teamed up with satellite broadband provider Avonline to offer families, businesses and communities the chance to win an installed system and 12 months’ free usage.

Entrants were asked to write a short piece explaining why they needed better broadband and, following the judging, the Turner family, from East Ditchburn, near North Charlton, came out on top.

The family – parents Duncan and Linda and their three children Patrick, 14, Robert, 11, and three-year-old Daniel – currently rely on a dial-up connection with a typical speed of 31.2kbps.

Explaining their dilemma, Linda wrote: “We live in a rural location (through necessity due to working in agriculture), which in itself is isolating, but feel increasingly removed from the outside world and the fast-changing technological advances on which the majority of people now rely.

“We believe that lack of access to broadband and its far-reaching benefits will continue to leave our family financially, socially and academically disadvantaged.”

One of the main concerns was how often the children’s homework involves use of the internet in one form or the other.

Mark Wynn, managing director of Avonline, said: “Congratulations to the Turner family – worthy winners of our competition.

“There are thousands of families who struggle to get decent access to the internet because of their location and that can have a major impact on people’s lives. We are delighted that the Turner family will soon be getting fast broadband at home thanks to satellite broadband.”

Reacting to the news that they had won, Linda said: “I’m just over the moon.

“We have been thinking about getting satellite for a long time, but the initial set-up cost is quite high. My husband’s a shepherd so money’s quite tight.

“I can’t believe it, it’s fantastic.”