Nan overwhelmed as she attends grandson's wedding from other side of the world

April 8, 2016

Australian woman Alma Bilson may not have been able to be at her son's UK wedding in person, but thanks to technology, the 89-year-old had a front row seat.

When Alma found out her loving grandson Trent was getting married in England, she knew she would have to be a part of it.

While she wasn't able to make the huge journey, the proud grandmother watched the ceremony live from her living room in an aged care village on the New South Wales north coast — champagne in hand.

Staff at Feros Care arranged for it to be filmed and streamed online.

Trent even came over for a quick chat with his Nan before the ceremony.

"It's amazing that I can see something that's happening now, yet so far away, it is really quite amazing," Alma says.

"I'm a little bit gobsmacked, it's just incredible."

PHOTO: From her aged care village in Kingscliff, on the NSW north coast, Alma Bilson speaks with her grandson Trent, and his sister, as they await the bride's arrival. (Supplied: Feros Care)


PHOTO: Alma Bilson watches her grandson marry his fiance, Helen. (Supplied: Feros Care )


"I'm just so happy I've been able to be here"

Her carers threw a party, and she was joined by her best friend and another grandson.

"The chef here found out that they were having Tim Tam cake at the wedding, so he made me one here," Alma says.

Alma has 10 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.

She says she shares a close relationship with 32-year-old Trent, who met his partner Helen in the UK.

"The bride, she looked very beautiful," she says.

"They were aware of my presence.

"I'm just so happy I've been able to be here to do that. I'm overwhelmed."

Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek.


VIDEO: 'It's so unreal!' Nan attends grandson's wedding from other side of world (ABC News)


Aged care village's first 'virtual wedding'

This magical moment was certainly not Alma's first encounter with the World Wide Web.

A regular online shopper and social media user, she spent an hour on Facetime with Trent earlier this week using Feros's resident Wheel-I-Am, an iPad mounted on a Segway.

The organisation's eHealth and primary care manager Shelly Fletcher says the experience highlights one of the many ways technology can enrich the life of seniors.

"I was nervous beforehand, because I really wanted it to work for Alma and her family," she says.

"Once I saw it was all working I was relieved and then, like Alma, probably overwhelmed, to think that we'd be able to connect her to the wedding on the other side of the world. You truly felt like you were there.

"Our first virtual wedding will definitely be an event to remember. It was so good."


Read more at's-wedding-virtually/7309906

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