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Old Man Builds Bench for Sick Wife

Whilst that may not be the most exciting headline you've ever read, it is - never the less - a very sweet story about an old married couple in Spain.

What the rustic bench that sits on a street in the Spanish town of A Estrada may lack in finish and elegance, it more than makes up for in the loving thoughtfulness that went into its creation. It was cobbled together after Manuel Souto, an 82-year-old retired lathe operator, decided to find somewhere for his wife to sit and rest on their daily walks. María Souto, who is 79 and has osteoarthritis, walks with a stick and finds her morning exercise increasingly difficult.

After failing to persuade the local council to install benches along their usual walking route, Souto decided to take matters into his own hands and headed to the local DIY store.

“The bench took me about half an hour,” he told La Voz de Galicia. “I got some wood but I had a saw at home because I still have my workshop. It was just a matter of sawing and nailing and I finished almost straight away.”

Souto admits the end product could do with a bit more polishing up, but says it’s sturdy and does the job. A kind local shop owner gave permission for Souto to put the bench outside his store, and it was secretly installed overnight last week as a surprise for María.

“When she saw it, she was delighted. I got a kiss and a hug.”

The bench is already proving popular with people in the town but Souto is keen for it to be used by those most in need of respite - hence the message he wrote along the back: “Respeten. Para mallores” (Be thoughtful. For older people).

Some have pointed out that mallores should be spelled mayores, but Souto isn’t fussed by the mistake. “I didn’t go to school. I started working when I was a child and worked all my life. Just like my wife. The poor thing has never stopped working.”


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