A BIG-HEARTED 83-year-old man with serious mobility issues has given up a computer and an iPad so a child will have a better chance of learning at home during lockdown.

Retured policeman Phil Brown, who has lived in Guisborough since 1975, donated the devices to the #compsforkids campaign which aims to ensure every schoolchild in Redcar and Cleveland has a laptop or tablet.

Dozens have been donated to the community-led campaign spearheaded by Redcar group Ladies of Steel, Marske and New Marske Community Information Group (MNMCIG) and Redcar businessman Ja Reed of EnterIT who has been refurbishing the computers for free.

However hundreds are still needed and the campaign is being backed by the council which is organising collections and working with schools to arrange the refurbishment of the computers.

The widower, who still has a computer so he can keep in touch with people and follow his passion for family history, said the experience of his own grandson motivated him to donate. He said: “It’s going back a few years but my grandson was diagnosed as quite badly dyslexic and was given a computer. The difference was really dramatic, he had a file for this and a file for that, and he began to fly. He ended up with a degree at Leeds University to do with business and computers, and he now actually teaches at a school. It shows the difference a computer can make to a child. My opinion is every school child should be given one if they haven’t got one.”

In a joint statement, Karen King of MNMCIG, Ja Reed of EnterIT and Chris Powlay of Ladies of Steel, said: “We’d like to personally thank Mr Brown for his wonderful donation and every last person who has donated. You are making a big, practical difference to children and young people right here on our doorstep.”

Councillor Alison Barnes, cabinet member for children, said: “This is lovely gesture from Mr Brown and it shows just how much people want to help those who are amongst the more disadvantaged of our young people, and give them a better and fairer chance to succeed. It’s a community campaign that we’re backing and the work of people like the Powlay family at Ladies of Steel and Ja Reed at EnterIT is truly outstanding.

"We have had several encouraging and warm messages from teachers, who have been frustrated because they couldn’t always support a particular child. Now, through this initiative, they have been able to help them. It’s a wonderful campaign.”

The devices are allocated by schools who can identify those in most need.

Organisers stress that any laptops or tablets will be wiped of personal data free of charge and then upgraded before being passed on to schools.

To donate a laptop or tablet, place the device in a sealed bag, call ahead to your local library or one of three other drop-off centres and you’ll be asked to sign an agreement form when you arrive. Library numbers are: Grangetown Library, 01642 454417; Marske Library, 01642 485440; Ormesby, 01642 314716; Skelton Library, 01287 650487; Redcar Library, 01642 444141; Guisborough Library, 01287 632668; South Bank Library, 01642 513699; Loftus Library, 01287 640582; Saltburn Library, 01287 623584.

Alternatively, call ahead to Redcar Heart building, 01642 444100; Inspire2Learn in South Bank, 01642 467138; or the South Tees Business Centre, (just off the A66 near South Bank), 01642 438438

A plastic carrier bag sealed with tape will do for sealing. When dropping off a laptop or tablet, please remember to comply with social distancing. Cash donations will not be accepted by staff at the centres.

The devices will be given to schools for allocation to the families most in need.

More information about how to donate also available at the Ladies of Steel Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/LadiesofsteelDormanstown