A FORMER pub owner who set up a virtual quiz "for a laugh" during the coronavirus crisis has gone viral.

Jay Flynn, from Darwen, had almost 500,000 responses to his Facebook event, with users from as far as Geneva, New York and New Zealand expressing interest.

The quiz, taking place tonight, currently has over 116,000 people who have responded that they are "going" and over 370,000 registered as "interested".

Due to start at 8.15pm, the 37-year-old said he had "tested a couple" of questions on his wife - with five rounds set to include history and sports.

He told the PA news agency: "I think there will be hardened quizzers in there who will get 50 out of 50, no sweat, there will be other people that will really struggle.

"But for the first ever one I've got to try and find a balance, really."

Mr Flynn, a sales executive who used to run a pub in his local area, originally set up the quiz on Saturday for friends as a "bit of a laugh and a giggle" amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

But he said he "made the mistake" of setting the event to public, as it quickly surpassed 10,000 responses by Monday - when the lockdown was announced.

He said: "I was just watching it and watching, and it was snowballing all day.

"I can't get my head round it, I really can't."

During the quiz, which will be livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube, he will urge players to donate to a local charity.

He added: "I don't want to pick a particular one, so I'm going to say in the live stream if you enjoyed it tonight, go and donate to your local charities, to people around you that need you.

"The frustrating messages have been people asking for the start time to be moved back.

"I've made it quite clear that I'm incorporating the NHS cheer into it. I've already said at 8pm please go outside, go and clap, celebrate, and then we'll be ready to go."

As a former quizzer, Mr Flynn said not knowing the audience had been the most difficult part of planning the questions.

He told PA: "I've run the quizzes before but the hardest thing is I've not got an audience, as stupid as it sounds.

"When I've done pub quizzes before I know who is going to be there every week, but I don't know who is going to be there tonight."

Should the quiz on Thursday be successful, the 37-year-old said further Facebook quizzes could be planned for Britons told to stay at home - who are set to take part simply with a pen and paper.

He said: "The last post I put on Facebook said if you guys enjoy this tonight, then I'll leave it in your hands.

"If you want it to be a regular thing every week, something to look forward to in the lockdown, then I will."