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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 April, 2005, 09:07 GMT 10:07 UK
Centenarian takes computer course
Sidney Platt
Sidney Platt speaks three foreign languages and plays the piano
At the age of 100 most people would think about winding down rather than downloading - but not Sidney Platt.

Mr Platt has embarked on his latest information technology course - at Havering College, east London - so he can better manage his finances.

A former fencer and tennis player, he piloted a plane when he was 92.

He attributes his longevity to regular exercise and to eating a bowl of porridge every morning. Mr Platt has a daughter of 65 and a son of 72.

Tips and shortcuts

Mr Platt said: "I started using computers on the old Amstrad system so I've seen some really big changes over the decades.

"I have learnt lots of little tips and shortcuts on the computer that most people don't know.

"I enjoy going to the centre because I always get a lovely smile from the ladies there and I can impress them with new computer tips."

Mr Platt, who turned 100 in March, has been studying computer courses at the college's Romford campus for five years.

He has a Level 1 certificate, covering spreadsheets, word processing and databases and is working towards a Level 2 certificate involving more advanced skills.

Porridge is the secret to a long life. I have it in the morning and it's the best start to the day
Sidney Platt

Mr Platt speaks German, French and Italian and plays the piano.

He said: "There is always something new to learn and I have found learning new computer skills has kept me up-to-date with all the new technology."

Of his long life, he added: "The key is lots of exercise and I have had plenty of it in my life.

"I used to play tennis and fence and I even piloted a plane at the age of 92.

"Porridge is also the secret to a long life. I have it in the morning and it's the best start to the day."

IT centre manager Monica Irvine said: "He is one of the trail blazers of the centre.

"We would call him an advanced computer user. He's an amazing character and a real inspiration to others."

Mr Platt said: "I didn't think it was anything special to reach 100 years old - lots of people are reaching 100 .

"But I'm told even if that's true, there aren't many 100-year-old IT students."

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