A lone retiree who made an emotional prayer to find friends after the death of his wife has received great support from kind-hearted strangers all over the world.
Tony Williams, 75, said that when his soul mate Jo, 35, died a few days after being diagnosed with cancer in May, he had lived in an unbearable torture of silence. He has no children or family and said he spends days alone at home waiting for a call that never comes.
In an attempt to find someone to talk to, the retired physicist placed ads in the local newspaper and even distributed cards including his details, but no one called. As a last resort, the Hampshire-based Tony placed a poster in his window asking someone to end his loneliness.
And hundreds of kind-hearted readers have answered his prayer. Since when sharing his story yesterday, Metro.co.uk is flooded with emails and social media messages from strangers offering friendship with Tony.
Hundreds from across the UK and Ireland, the Netherlands, Hungary and even from the US, Canada and Hong Kong, said they were heartbroken and in tears after reading the retirement call.
People between the ages of 17 and those in their 90s said that no one should feel alone in this world, especially during a pandemic.
Other physicists said they would like to talk about all things with Tony, while others told their stories of losing a loved one to cancer. The widows said they know how it feels to suffer from loneliness and also hoped to find a new friend.
Charlie Howard, 27, from Southampton, said he would love to talk to Tony and hope he would meet someone else who feels the same way.
He told Metro.co.uk: My nano passed away two years ago from aggressive cancer, with only eight weeks between diagnosis and passing it on, leaving behind a large but most importantly, my wonderful grandfather.
Charlie said that although 84-year-old nephew Mike Fox has the support of the whole family, he also becomes lonely without having someone who understands how it feels to lose your partner for so many years.
Two people who have experienced a similar loss may be able to help each other push the darkness of loneliness and loneliness, he said, adding that he hopes Tony finds happiness and friendship from his appeal.
Displaced residents from the town of Tonys i Alton offered to open a creation, while those further away said they would like to call them, chat in Zoom, become a pencil or send postcards and Christmas postcards to enjoy it.
Sarah Grater, 56, from Seaton in Devon, said Tonys’s story reminded her so much of her loving father who shared the same name. After her mother died in March 2016, she said her father was left so sad, but luckily Sarah had to talk every day.
He died of a broken heart six months after his mother. If I could help someone else I would feel privileged, Sarah added.
She said she was so enthusiastic that they responded to the retirees’ situation, adding: Tony will not be lonely for much longer. It makes me very happy.
Widow Catherine Gordon, from Gosport, Hampshire, said she would be happy to talk to Tony anytime as she has been in his situation and knows how he feels.
The 69-year-old lost her husband Jim, 64, in 2011 and has lived alone ever since. She has no family nearby, but fortunately has a strong support network.
She added: Sadly not all of your friends want to hear your memories, but if there is only one or two who have lost someone, then you know you can share stories and feelings. There are times when this is all you need.
Charities, organizations, care workers, Samaritan volunteers and people who have worked in cancer wards also offered support to Tony and invited him to join clubs and lunch activities for the elderly.
Guardian Camille Cheshire, from Hedge End, Hampshire, said Tonys’s story really touched my heart and offered me help.
The 31-year-old, who works for Sunnylives Support Services and has a partner working in the ambulance service, said the two have been first-hand witnesses of what isolation can be like for people living alone.
Camille said: We see too often the harmful effects of loneliness and isolation; most people realize that this can be more difficult in times of celebration like Christmas, but it is often forgotten that there are also some people every day.
Even a phone call can make such a difference that you do not have to talk about current issues, many people like to talk about their adult years, previous jobs and hobbies.
They all have their own story to tell and you will be amazed at how extraordinary they are.
Claire Coxwell, manager of the local Woolmer Forest Timebank organization, also invited Tony to join their volunteer group to make some new friends.
She said: Our members offer each other friendship and neighborly support and we also exchange skills and hobbies with each other.
We have also met other groups in the town of Tonys, Alton, in order to be able to help him find friendships on his doorstep.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].
For more stories like this, check out our news site.
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