British pensioners receive warmth from Iceland

elderly-ladyIcelanders have donated an entire shipping container full of woolly jumpers, socks and blankets to British pensioners, as winter’s chill increases their chances of dying in under-heated homes.

The Sun newspaper reports that Icelanders were spurred to action after a radio programme revealed that as many as one in 12 British pensioners are at risk of dying in the winter cold. The container is due to arrive on Monday.

So when Icelandic DJ Heimir Karlsson launched an ‘Icelandic Wool to England’ (Islensk Ull til Englands) campaign the donations flooded in.

The campaign started when an Icelander living in Manchester called in to Karlsson’s Bítid radio show on Bylgjan FM to say how badly OAPs in Britain suffer in the cold weather.

Around 25,000 elderly people in England and Wales died of cold related illnesses between December 2007 and March 2008, with around one in three pensioners classed as living in fuel poverty.

“This is a fantastic and generous act of compassion from the people of Iceland, particularly at a time when their own economic situation is extremely difficult,” said Neil Duncan-Jordan, spokesman for Britain’s National Pensioners Convention. The Icelandic donations will be handed over to British officials in Hull which is twinned with Reykjavik.

Icelandic broadcaster, Heimir Karlsson, who helped organise the appeal, said: “When we broadcast the story that UK pensioners were dying from the cold, our listeners could not believe their own ears.
“The elderly deserve to live their last years enjoying the best of care. They deserve to live in warm housing, free from worries over cold and rising gas bills. The Icelandic people heard about how terribly the UK government treats the pensioners, and could not just do nothing about it.”

The Sun blames the British government for its “terrible treatment of the elderly”.

Click here to see a BBC interview with the Icelandic DJ in question.

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