Age UK have revealed that nearly a million elderly 60+ people will suffer chronic loneliness this festive season while most other folk are opening presents, spending pleasurable time with family and/or friends and tucking into the turkey and mince pies.

Worst affected say the charity are the unmarried, divorced and those who have lost their partner. For these Christmas is just a “thoroughly depressing reminder of just how lonely and miserable they feel all year round”.

Age UK’s campaign “No-one should have no-one” is being fronted by actors James Bolam and Miriam Margolyes who tell the stories of two recipients of the charity’s telephone befriending service which generates a weekly phone call to elderly and lonely people living on their own.

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