Joanna Lumley, Penny Smith and Susanna Reid help raise vital funds
Age UK’s star-studded ‘Love Christmas’ carol concert, held at St Paul’s Cathedral on Thursday 18 December 2014, has raised over £130,000 to help the Charity tackle loneliness through its vital national and local services.
The festive fundraiser was hosted by TV’s Penny Smith, with seasonal readings from much-loved actresses Joanna Lumley, Barbara Windsor, writer and presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell and Good Morning Britain’s Susanna Reid. There was also a special performance from the UK’s best-selling classical artist Russell Watson and appearances by the world-renowned St Paul’s Cathedral Consort and the London Gay Men’s Chorus, Europe’s largest and best known gay choir.
All proceeds from Age UK’s Love Christmas carol concert will help the Charity to fight loneliness through its vital national and local services. Loneliness is a daily reality for over one million older people who regularly go an entire month without speaking to anyone[i].
Joanna Lumley said: ‘We’ve had a truly magical evening at St Paul’s Cathedral and it’s certainly got me in the festive mood! It’s been made all the more special knowing we were there to support Age UK to help tackle the growing issue of loneliness in later life. It’s heartbreaking to know there are thousands of older people who have no-one to turn to for advice and companionship, or even someone to ask simply how their day is, which can make such a difference. The money raised this evening will help Age UK provide crucial services and activities to those who are lonely, so it was great to see so many people show their support.’
Barbara Windsor said: ‘Feeling lonely is horrible at any time of year, but it can be particularly tough over the festive period when many are celebrating in the company of family and friends. That’s why Age UK’s work to support older people who are lonely is so important. We can all play our part this winter by popping in to see an older relative or neighbour or by putting them in contact with their local Age UK.’
Lydia Curran, Head of Events at Age UK, said: ‘We’re delighted to have received so much support at our Love Christmas carol concert. It was a fantastic occasion to get us in the Christmas mood, but most importantly the funds raised will make a crucial difference to the lives of older people who are lonely. We’re extremely grateful to all our sponsors and everyone who attended the event to support and help us continue our vital work.’
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.
To support Age UK’s vital work people can donate by calling 0800 169 8787, text LOVE to 70004 to give £5[ii] or visit www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/loneliness.
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 65 65.
For more information about Age UK fundraising events and to find out how you can show your support visit www.ageuk.org.uk/events.
Love Christmas was sponsored by E.ON, Dignity, Rothesay Life, Williams Lea, Lucrum Group and Just Retirement Solutions.