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Last Updated: Friday, 23 April, 2004, 09:25 GMT 10:25 UK
Father and daughter's SMS lifeline
Geoff Adams-Spink
BBC News Online disability affairs reporter

An Essex man has taught himself to use text-messaging at the age of 81 so that he can communicate with his daughter who is deaf and has no speech.

Photo of Pamela and Arthur Dee with their mobiles - courtesy of Tesco
It's good to text - Pamela and Arthur Dee use SMS as their lifeline
Arthur Dee from Romford decided to buy two mobile handsets which were on offer at his local Tesco supermarket so that his daughter, Pamela, could contact him to let him know when she wants to be picked up.

Mr Dee said that 57 year-old Pamela still lives with him but likes to travel around independently by bus.

"In the past we've had real problems when the bus hasn't turned up," he told BBC News Online.

"She had to ask somebody to ring me but often I would already have left to pick her up, so there was no way she could let me know that she wasn't going to be at the bus stop."

Small world

Mr Dee said he had taken to texting so quickly that he now wishes that he had bought a mobile years ago.

"Texting has given my dad and me a much greater sense of security," Pamela Dee told BBC News Online by SMS.

"The world seems so much smaller now."

Asked what advice she had for others in a similar position, Pamela said: "You're never too old. My dad will prove that, because it's new technology that keeps him going."

Mr Dee says he only uses his mobile to stay in touch with his daughter and has not yet mastered predictive texting.

At home, Pamela uses a combination of British Sign Language and lip-reading.

She says that she is now looking forward to affordable mobile video communication.

Text messaging has become extremely popular among people with hearing impairments as a means of staying in touch.

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