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Celebrities Get In The Festive Spirit At Age UK’s Love Christmas Carol Concert

Age-UK-Logo-CMYK1Barbara Windsor MBE, Lesley Garrett CBE and Penny Smith help raise vital funds

Age UK’s star-studded ‘Love Christmas’ carol concert, held at St Marylebone Parish Church, London, on Thursday 10th December 2015, has raised £50,000 to help the Charity tackle loneliness through its vital national and local services.

The festive fundraiser, sponsored by E.ON, was hosted by TV’s Penny Smith, with musical performances from opera singer Lesley Garrett CBE and Opera Holland Park, seasonal readings from celebrities including Barbara Windsor MBE, Jon Culshaw, Kevin Whately and Kathy Lette, and traditional Christmas carols.

Money raised at Love Christmas will help Age UK make a crucial difference to the lives of older people. According to research by Age UK, more than a million older people say they haven’t spoken to a friend, neighbour or family member for over a month(1). Age UK wants to combat this by providing companionship, advice and support for older people facing later life alone.

Barbara Windsor MBE said: ‘We’ve had a truly magical evening at Age UK’s Love Christmas carol concert and more importantly we’ve raised vital funds for the Charity. I’ve worked with Age UK for many years and know what a difference its work can make to lonely older people. Right now, there are many older people who feel they have absolutely no one to turn to, which is heart-breaking. Any support, whether that’s from Age UK, family, friends or from members of the community, can make a huge difference to their lives.’

Age UK Ambassador Penny Smith said: ‘I’ve had the pleasure of hosting Age UK’s Love Christmas carol concert many times and I’m always amazed by the generous support we receive. Many of us enjoy a good celebration at this time of year however loneliness can make the outlook bleaker. My mum was a volunteer for Age UK and I know just how vital its work is in supporting older people who really need a helping hand. So thanks to everyone who came to the concert and helped raise funds for the Charity.’

Lesley Garrett CBE said: ‘I had a brilliant time performing at Age UK’s Love Christmas fundraising concert and happy I could support the Charity in this way. None of us want to feel lonely so it’s incredibly sad to think of older people feeling alone at this time of year – there’s something we can all do to help. Thanks to everyone who joined us in supporting Age UK and for the generous donations, which will enable the Charity to help vulnerable older people who need our support.’

Lydia Curran, Head of Events at Age UK, said: ‘We’re delighted with the generosity and support we received at Age UK’s Love Christmas carol concert. The money raised at our festive fundraiser helps Age UK tackle huge issues like loneliness, which blights the lives of too many older people. Loneliness can be devastating and the festive season can be a particularly difficult time for anyone facing it alone, so we’re extremely grateful to our sponsors, performers and everyone who attended the event for their support.’

Age UK helps to prevent and reduce loneliness by supporting a range of services and activities such as a friendly telephone call, weekly visits, social activities such as lunch clubs exercise classes and tea-dances, advice when there’s nowhere to turn, and the chance to get out and about in the local community, all of which play a crucial part in helping make later life better. Regular contact from local Age UK services can be life-changing and give older people the confidence they need to feel more connected and less isolated.

Older people and their families can get in touch with Age UK to find out how the Charity could help someone who may be feeling lonely by calling Age UK Advice for free on 0800 169 2081.

Last month, Age UK kicked off its No one should have no one at Christmas campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the loneliness epidemic among older people at Christmas. To help Age UK support lonely older people by donating, volunteering or signing its petition calling on Government to take action go to: www.ageuk.org.uk/christmas.

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