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Lonely fisherman finds new friend after viral Gumtree ad

Mr Johnstone went fishing with his new friend in Queensland. Credit: Mati Batsinilas

A widower whose plea to find a new fishing buddy after his friend died has been on his first fishing trip with a new friend.

Ray Johnstone, 85, from Adelaide, posted an advert on Gumtree which said he wanted "a fishing mate in a similar position to myself who also wants someone to go fishing with".

Thousands of Australians answered the advert. Mati Batsinilas, from Brisbane, also responded on Facebook, saying he was "more than happy" to take the pensioner on a trip to Queensland.

The 22-year-old told news.com.au: "I commented on Facebook news article just saying 'Hey mate, you've probably found your fishing buddy and you probably don't need me. But if you see this message I'm more than happy to take you on a trip to Queensland'.

"I went to sleep that night thinking nothing of it, then I woke up the next morning and my comment had 1000 likes and I had 200 messages from people saying 'Take him on a fishing trip', so I did."

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The duo fished for four hours in Queensland and then joined Mr Batsinilas' family for breakfast.

Mr Johnstone told local newspaper The Courier Mail: "It was a really good day. The highlight was being taken out fishing in the morning."

Mr Batsinilas has posted photos of their fishing adventure on Facebook, and they have been liked thousands of times.

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Mr Batsinilas said that he paid for the expenses, telling news.com.au: "I haven't looked at the fees to be honest. I just paid for everything. It doesn't bother me.

"I did it out of good will. Honestly, it touched me. I come from a family of four boys and we love fishing. We do it all the time.

"If something was to happen to us and our old man was left on his own, that’s just awful. There's no way I would want that to happen to my old mate or my grandfather."