A HUNDRED elderly people die from the cold in Solihull each year, the chairman of the local Age UK branch has revealed.
Greg Duddy gave the stark figure at an event to mark the charity’s 30th anniversary and launch the Pearl Donor Appeal - aiming to raise £90,000 to help those pensioners in need.
Speaking at the Civic Suite last Friday, Mr Duddy said that there was a danger that the elderly could be left lonely and isolated.
“Nobody believes they are going to get old. That’s why I think sometimes people don’t like to look at old people because it’s a reminder of their own mortality. This is even more the case today in a world devoted to youth and beauty.
“There’s a danger that old people can become an invisible part of society. It’s hard to believe that young active people surrounded by their family can end up alone when they’re old, but it happens.”
Birds of a Feather actress Lesley Joseph took time away from the stage - she’s just finished a stint in panto at Birmingham Hippodrome - to back the Pearl Donor Appeal.
She said she was passionate about charities for the elderly - her own mother is almost 101 and suffers with dementia.
And last year the 67-year-old took part in a BBC documentary, When I Get Older, spending time with an elderly woman who had to provide 24-hour care to her ailing husband.
“It was so hard,” she said of the experience. “To see this woman [in her 70s] who was having to get up maybe four times a night to help her husband who had been left paralysed by a stroke.
“The work of charities like Age UK is hugely important and I hope here in Solihull they continue for another 30 years.”
Mayor of Solihull, Coun Ken Hawkins, among the other speakers, said: “In this age of austerity, it’s a tough time for all charities. But it’s important that our elderly residents are not forgotten.”
The Pearl Donor Appeal will ask 3000 supporters to give £30 each to Age UK Solihull. To find out how to become a donor, visit www.ageuksolihull.org.uk.