I am a male pensioner living alone and most days my only contact with the outside world is by telephone and TV.
I realise that there are many people of both sexes in a similar position - lonely and feeling vulnerable.
Certainly there are organisations we can contact such as Age UK, Social Services etc and these organisations are very helpful, compassionate and well meaning and long may they continue their good work, but personally I find it difficult to swallow my pride and admit to loneliness. Others may feel the same.
So what is the solution? Could it be that lonely people of both sexes informally make contact in two separate groups and help each other?
As mentioned, I watch TV a great deal and apart from the news, which is always depressing, I watch old 1960s re-run sitcoms, such as Last of the Summer Wine.
On this programme set in Yorkshire the two groups live their daily lives with little incidents that are shared. The men meet at the local cafe or pub or at a member of the group’s house (Cleggy) and have banter and exchange stories of the past.
Underlying the humour is a real sense of community spirit and neighbour helps neighbour - unlike today. The ladies had their coffee mornings.
This led me to think (and it may well have been tried before) that your paper could perhaps organise such a scheme to put lonely people in touch with other lonely people in an informal way by themselves contacting each other.
I am sure that once started, local people may help. One such person brought to mind would be ex-mayor Mrs Margaret Ottaway, who, although unlikely to be lonely herself with all her local commitments, may contribute some useful ideas.
A lonely pensioner
Editor’s Note: Mrs Ottaway was very moved by this letter and would ask the gentleman contact her as she believes she can help. She can be contacted on 01507 606902.