A CHARITY campaign aimed at protecting older people during the cold months has received the back ing of a local MP.
Age UK’s Winter Pledge initiative has the support of Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell.
Last year more than 24,000, people aged over 65 across the UK died unnecessarily during the winter.
In the north east alone there were 1,410 excess winter deaths.
Mr Campbell said: “We have one of the worst levels of unnecessary winter deaths in Europe – with each day on average more than 200 succumbing to the effects of the cold weather.
“The number of older people who do not survive the winter here is far higher than in most European countries, including those where the weather is far colder.
“By signing the Age UK pledge, I am committing to working with the charity to help ensure all my older constituents are prepared for winter by knowing the dangers of cold weather and how they can guard against them.”
Michelle Mitchell, charity director of Age UK, added: “We are delighted that Ronnie Campbell, MP, has joined our fight to reduce excess winter deaths.
“We know that behind these figures lie deep-seated social issues with more than five million households living in fuel poverty and one in three older people living in housing that is poorly insulated.”
Older people and their families can call Age UK advice for free on 0800 169 6565, where they can also order a free copy of ‘Winter Wrapped Up’, a guide funded by E.ON.
Alternatively, they can visit www.spreadthewarmth.org.uk to download the guide.