I recently returned from a fact-finding tour in the Costa del Sol, southern Spain, where I was seeking to assess the needs of elderly British ex-pats.

For the majority, southern Spain is a wonderful place to live, with beautiful scenery. However, for those who are elderly, ill, have lost their partners and are struggling financially, the situation is grim.

I visited a number of ex-pats in their small apartments, in nursing homes and hospitals. Some, alas, have been exploited by folk in the communities in which they live and by so-called "friends" and relatives who are only interested in getting hold of their money.

I have seen many cases of hardship and exploitation which have made me weep.

However, a few years ago, a former resident of Hove, Dr Georgina Shapiro and her husband Tony, got a group of volunteers together and formed the Age Care Association - Costa del Sol.

This association seeks to help elderly ex-pats with welfare needs, visiting them in their own homes, in hospitals and nursing homes and often taking them food parcels to supplement meagre diets.

Folk who have relatives who have retired to the Costa del Sol, or who are contemplating retiring themselves, should contact:

Mary Howley, Secretary, Age Care Association - Costa del Sol, Calle Ronda No 1143, urb. Pinos de Alhaurin, Alhaurin de la Torre, 29130, Malaga, Spain.

Rev John Webster,