At 90, Ballina's John Swain embraces the digital edition of the Northern Star. Picture: Rebecca Fist
At 90, Ballina's John Swain embraces the digital edition of the Northern Star. Picture: Rebecca Fist

90-year-old embraces technology to get his news fix

AT NINETY years of age, John Swain will read the final paper edition of the Northern Star on Saturday with sadness.

It has been his daily ritual for 70 years, and has kept him connected with the community in recent months of ill health after a fall.

>>> Get a free Samsung tablet when you sign up to the Star

"I have always thought that I could not exist without the Northern Star as I looked to it for so many things," Mr Swain said.

"I always realised that digital would arrive, but I consoled myself with the fact that I would have departed this world before then."

Unable to part with it, and sensing what would come, Mr Swain reluctantly bought an iPad for his birthday in February, and his wife, Elaine, has been helping him to use it.

"I still have a bit of a way to go with it, but I can get into it, so I should be right," Mr Swain said.

"I have another friend who's a bit older than me, he lives in the country and his home delivery was cancelled a few years ago. He had to get an iPad, and he reads books and everything on it now."

Mr Swain is now not only one of the Northern Star's most loyal subscribers, but one of our most senior digital subscribers.

Mr Swain keeps up to speed with the real estate section, the news, the weather and the funeral notices.

"I've lived in the area all my life and I know so many people," he said.

You may know Mr Swain from his 50 years of accounting, 50 years of service as a justice of the peace, a member of Lismore Rotary Club for 40 years, a life member of the East Lismore Tennis Club, Far North Cricket Council, and Northern Rivers District Bowling Association.

He is an avid reader of the sports section.

"Even though I probably don't know many of the people featured now, I probably know their grandfather," he said.

He has contributed much to his local paper.

The self-professed "cricket tragic" wrote a weekly cricket column under the pseudonym of Fine Leg, a weekly tennis column in the winter and supplied weekly news as publicity officer of East Lismore and Lennox Head Bowling Clubs.

He has resisted technology for most of his life, but the pull of community has always been a powerful force in Mr Swain's life, and for others who will miss the physical newspaper, he hopes they will take a leaf from his book.



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