A PENARTH World War Two veteran has urged local residents to sign up to a helpline that helps older people combat loneliness.

The Silver Line helpline offers “information, friendship and advice” to older people that would otherwise have nobody to talk to.

The service is aimed at the ‘Silver Generation’ of the over 65’s, with callers able to speak to helpline staff day or night for information or just a chat.

1st Army Gunner William ‘Bill’ Ledbury, 95, first heard about The Silver Line helpline when he read an article about its launch in the Penarth Times in November last year.

Since then he has spoken to more than 200 people and provided company to people that would otherwise be left alone.

Bill, of Clive Crescent, said that the service had made a “massive difference” to his life and that he regularly used it day or night to talk to people.

"It's nice to have someone to talk to," he said.

"I'm sure there are many other people that would like to have a chat and it's all free.”

He added: "Nobody else from Penarth seems to have heard about it.

"They can tell you what's going on in the Paget Rooms or anywhere else in the country.”

Bill, who recounted his ‘Journey into the Unknown’ army memoirs into the BBC’s ‘WW2 People’s War’ online archives a few years ago, added: "You can phone as many times as you like and there's no limit, day or night they are on the phone.

"You have 10 to 15 minutes on there depending on how many people are waiting."

Bill, who was one of the first people to sign up to the helpline, said that he often used it when he couldn't leave the house because of the weather and wanted somebody to talk to.

He added that he had tried to raise awareness about the service by putting leaflets in the library, and he was also considering putting them in local doctors, dentists and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Bill, who has two children, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren, also featured in the Penarth Times last after his family thanked Tesco staff for going “above and beyond the call of duty” after helping him buy his shopping after his card was declined.

To contact Silver Line phone 0800 4 70 80 90 or from a mobile phone 0300 4 70 80 90.