A man who is afraid his father could be lonely has advertised for a drinking companion for him - at £7 an hour - and there is no shortage of likely helpers. Jack Hammond, 88, of Cadnam, Hampshire, will now meet candidates who answered the 25p advertisement placed in a local post office by his son Michael.
Mr Hammond used to drink with a neighbour in Barton-on-Sea but is now in a nursing home near his son Michael. Michael Hammond said he had been "absolutely staggered" by the response.
"When you put an advertisement in a post office for 25p you don't expect anything to come of it, so the response has been amazing," he said. "But there must be hundreds and hundreds of people in the same position needing some company.
"Dad will be going out with some of the candidates next week but we are going to do it properly, as he is vulnerable." Mr Hammond added: "It's a bit difficult at this age to go out to a pub on his own. He is hoping to find a gentleman who is not too bombastic and enjoys a nice pint. Three of the responses came from the shop advertisement and four from the publicity but we are hoping for more."
Mr Hammond said the ideal candidate would be a man who can talk about his father's career in engineering, or his father's passion for golf. He said women would be out of the question as Mr Hammond senior would feel uncomfortable going to a pub with a woman he did not know.