IT is hoped that lives could be saved with the help of an annual Wigan winter charity scheme - donate a coat.
Local people are being asked to join a host of celebrities who have already given their warm jackets to support Age UK’s annual charity scheme, Donate a Coat, which aims to give all of the donations from the campaign to the nation’s pensioners who may not be able to afford to stay warm throughout the season.
Those who have already donated include Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, The Saturdays’ Mollie King and actress Lynda Bellingham.
Along with a range of new coats from top high street brands such as Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and River Island, the celebrity coats will be available to buy from selected shops across the country.
The Age UK shops across the borough are already accepting the local donations and the Wigan Evening Post went along to try some of the snug bargains available.
But there is a very serious message behind all this.
Chief officer of Age UK Wigan, John McArdle, said: “We want to raise awareness of the fact people die because of cold weather.
“There is a fun side to the campaign but also a serious side. The coats will be sold to support vulnerable people and to make sure they feel able to survive the winter. After last year we hope that people would take advantage and clear out their wardrobe and save lives.
“Local people have always been generous and kind so hopefully they will get on board again this year and support the campaign.”
Between the winters of 2006 and 2009 there were on average 3,772 excess winter deaths per year recorded in the North West of England.
More than 200 older people die in Britain everyday in the winter months because of the cold weather and over 8,000 coats were donated and resold through Age UK shops last year, raising thousands of pounds.
Hugh Forde, managing director of Age UK Retail, Trading and Training, said: “Older people are particularly vulnerable to the cold in the winter.
“Age UK’s work in the North West of England will be crucial in helping older people to keep warm this winter, so we’re calling on everyone in the area to donate their old or spare coats to your local shop today!”
Older people and their families can call Age UK Advice for free on 08001696565, where they can also order a free copy of the ‘Winter Wrapped Up’ leaflet. Alternatively they can visit www.spreadthewarmth.org.uk to download the guide, get more information about Spread the Warmth and find out where their local Age UK office or shop is.
To make a donation call 08001698787 or visit spreadthewarmth.co.uk