An experimental dating agency in Spain has taken drastic steps to end the ‘bride shortage’ in a countryside town - by bussing in women from the city.
The men of Candeleda have endured years of frustration as the town’s population plummeted because of the country’s financial crisis and the lure of city jobs.
Sixty-eight hopeful women from the country’s capital, Madrid, were shuttled in by bus, in hope of finding a husband as a result of the unusual dating exercise.
Candeleda resident Jose Miguel, 67, said the town had been inhabited for around 5,000 years and would hate to see the population decline.
"I've checked out the few widows and single women here," said Miguel. "I signed up for this to meet new ladies and to hopefully show them the beauty of my town."
The organiser, Asocamu, was set up in 1995 to promote the re-population of some of Spain’s picturesque villages.
The group has credited inspiration for the idea to 1951 western film ‘Westward the Women’ where the lead character, played by John McIntire, invites women to marry his men.
Up to 100 of Spain’s 5,000 villages are facing imminent abandonment with national statistics concluding that the population in many parts of central and northern Spain is depleting.
Blanca Fernandez, who was delighted by the idea of a day in the countryside and a chance for romance, said that she was looking forward to participating.
"I know it's difficult to find the love of one's life, but some of these meetings have led to marriages," she said.