Lonely Bill says radio appearance 'was highlight of my life'

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Media captionBill Palmer says "I appreciate with all my heart" the response to his story

A 95-year-old man who sparked international media attention with an appearance on BBC radio has said the visit was the "highlight of my life".

Bill Palmer phoned Alex Dyke's programme on BBC Radio Solent and told him how lonely he was because his wife is in a nursing home.

After Dyke arranged for Mr Palmer, from Southampton, to get to the studio his story was picked up across the world.

Mr Palmer said: "Picking up the phone was one of the greatest things I did."

But he has been unable to see any of the online coverage of his tale - because although he has a computer he does not know the password for it.

'Chip shop fame'

The story has gone viral on social media and featured in the news media around the world, including on the ABC7 Morning Show in the US, the Russia Today website, the Washington Post and WFTV in Canada.

Mr Palmer said he had received a phone call from a Canadian journalist, photographers from national newspapers had been to his house - and he was recognised in his local chip shop.

"The attention is wonderful, I don't mind," he said.

Image caption Alex Dyke booked a taxi after Mr Palmer called into his show

"It was the highlight of my life.

"It was getting a bit lonely but suddenly my life perked up."

Mr Palmer married his wife Sheila, 85, on 2 June 2014 after they had been friends for 30 years.

'Changed my life'

Shortly afterwards Mrs Palmer - who has dementia and colitis - fell and was taken into hospital. She now lives in a nursing home.

A nurse showed her the pictures of Mr Palmer visiting Broadcasting House in Southampton.

"She thought it was wonderful, she couldn't get over it," he said.

Image copyright ABC
Image caption Bill Palmer's story made the news in Arizona...
Image copyright Russia Today
Image caption ...and in Russia...
Image copyright Washington Post
Image caption ...in Washington DC...
Image copyright KABC-TV
Image caption ...and was discussed on morning news in the US

The radio station has received phone calls from people who want to take Mr Palmer out to lunch or for a day trip, but he has turned them down so he can visit his wife.

"I am the only bright spark in my wife's life, as I go and spend a few hours with her.

"It is better to be a little dim light and make someone else happy."

Mr Palmer, of Sholing, said he was recognised in the chip shop on Thursday night and was asked for a photograph.

He said: "Alex Dyke has changed my life."

Mr Palmer said his son Tony has been on holiday and was "in for a shock" when he got back, as he was unaware of what had been happening.

The nonagenarian is planning on making a scrapbook of the newspaper cuttings to show his wife.

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