This piece first appeared in The Daily Telegraph on 12 February  2000
The text here may not be identical to the published text

Readers help the aged with winter fuel payments

Daily Telegraph cold weather appeal

Hundreds of generous readers have given nearly £50,000 to lighten the days and warm the homes of thousands of older people this winter. They have all sent money from the £100 winter fuel payment given by the government to almost everyone aged 60 or more. They have contributed some or all of their payment to The Daily Telegraph’s Warm Hearts appeal. It has been running for three years now and each year our readers give more. The appeal – run jointly with Help the Aged – ensures that those who do not need the payment themselves can make sure it goes where it is most useful to help less well off pensioners keep warm and healthy in what has been a very cold winter.

People like Brian Murphy – better known as George of George and Mildred, the comedy series shown on Thames television in the late 1970s – who gave his £100 to the Warm Hearts appeal as soon as he got it.

"I am now 66 and fortunate to be working – last year was excellent with appearances as Athur Capstick in Mrs Merton and Malcolm, spots in Casualty and The Bill as well as stage and radio and now I am just about to start shooting a film Mumbo Jumbo. So this is a way of passing on the money which I do not need at the moment to those who do. After all the £100 they will get is not much now, you need a lot of heat in the winter - November, December, January - it burns it up as well as what I might call internal heating, warm food. So this will help top it up for those that need it."

And it is that kind of practical help the money is used for. Michael Lake, Director General of Help the Aged told Money Go Round

"The money will be spent very practically – providing help with heating bills, installing home insulation materials and offering hot meals at day centres and lunch clubs. The Daily Telegraph readers have been incredibly generous in their response to our Warm Hearts Appeal, showing a real concern for older people who struggle in the winter months"

Last year the Appeal raised around £35,000. This year, with the payment from the Government now £100 for each pensioner household, Help the Aged is hoping to double that amount or more. So far we are on track. By the end of January, 699 readers had given £49,000, an average of just over £70 each.

Anyone who wants to donate their winter fuel payment - or part of it - to the Warm Hearts Appeal should send a cheque payable to Help the Aged to Lisa Burton, Help the Aged, Freepost Lon 13041, PO Box 203, London EC1B IDG or ring the Warm Hearts appeal line on 0171 250 4481 weekday 8.30am to 5pm. Anyone with queries about the winter fuel payment can ring the Department of Social Security on 0645 15 15 15.

12 February 2000

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