A PORT Elizabeth hunk, Lee Thompson, has been announced as the star of the South African version of the reality dating show, The Bachelor, which will hit our screens in 2019. The brave, but lucky Prince Charming to put his heart on the line to woo – and be wooed – by a bevy of beautiful local lasses, will forever be known as South African reality television’s first Bachelor when he makes his appearance on national television early next year. “M-Net can confirm that our Bachelor was born in Port Elizabeth. He now lives in Cape Town,” said Lani Lombard, M-Net’s head of publicity. Thompson is an accomplished all-rounder. He is a former Sharks rugby player and an entrepreneur with several successful business ventures on his resume. He also happens to be a sought-after international model, and when he’s not cutting deals or pumping iron in the gym, he dedicates his time to meaningful charity work. But how did M-Net and production company, Rapid Blue, recruit Thompson as The Bachelor?“It was a tall order. Literally and figuratively speaking. While the ladies could enter the show, it was up to us to find The Bachelor. “After many hours of scouting for Mr Perfect, we came up with a solution. We asked the shortlisted ladies, who come from all walks of life, to list the attributes that would sway them to say “yes” when the question is popped, because after all, the show is supposed to lead to a marriage proposal.“They all immediately had one very specific request: he had to be tall. And Thompson, at 1.88m, socks and all, fits the bill,” Lombard said. The diverse group of 25 ladies from across South Africa representing our rainbow nation can comfortably wear their high heels when they want to sweep Thompson off his feet. His height came in handy on the rugby field. He got his first major break in the Varsity Cup-winning Tuks team; then he captained the Blue Bulls U19 before switching to the Sharks, for whom he played at U21 and senior level.The next requirement was kind-heartedness, followed by being adventurous, generous, financially independent and fun. Thompson ticked the boxes, one and all. He owns and operates a cleaning company called Clean Smart and the website development business Skyler Web. He also used to own a gym. His other major passion is philanthropy. He founded the non-profit organisation #LiveHopeLoveSA.“My life goal is to have an amazing family life and, yes, I do know that this is an unusual way to find true love, but something deep inside me tells me that the universe is going to give me what I need right now - the woman of my dreams. “I can’t wait to meet and get to know the 25 ladies. Chemistry often works in mysterious ways and I have no preconceived ideas about who I want to spend the rest of my life with,” Thompson said. The Bachelor will be screened on M-Net 101 from Valentine’s Day 2019.