By Matt Hunter/Emma Brennan
Monday, December 3, 2012
AS a campaign to help people in need stay warm this winter reached a milestone figure of £25,000 in just two weeks, weather forecasters warned of more icy temperatures and snow flurries to come over the next few days.
According to Weatherquest, Santon Downham on the Suffolk/Norfolk border recorded the coldest temperature on Saturday night with a low of -4.5C.
The next coldest place in the county was Cavendish, which recorded a low of -3C. Temperatures at Wattisham hit -2.1C while Brooms Barn research station near Bury St Edmunds recorded a dip to -1.7C. Any snow showers overnight were expected to have melted by this morning but after a slightly milder, damp day today, a return to unsettled conditions is expected with overnight frosts and wintery showers predicted this week.
Nationally, a shocking 24,000 people over the age of 65 died from the cold last winter, so the Surviving Winter campaign, led by The Suffolk Foundation, Age UK Suffolk and the East Anglian Daily Times, is calling on those who can afford it to donate their Winter Fuel Payment to help those in need.
Last year the appeal raised £55,000, helping 250 people. It is hoped that total will be beaten this year, which will be essential with weather conditions predicted to stay around freezing during the coming weeks.
Last night, Weatherquest forecaster Jim Bacon said temperatures would plummet again overnight, with more bitter weather and ground frosts predicted.
He said: “We have already seen some snow falling on the north east coast of Suffolk and tonight looks set to begin with frost and icy roads with some rain sweeping in that could fall as sleet or snow to start with. Monday will be slightly less cold but I think we will see a return to colder and unsettled weather with wintery showers later in the week.”
He added: “It’s really important that older people take steps to keep themselves warm and that they take extra care on paths in shaded areas at the side of their homes which can remain icy throughout the day.”
Speaking of the success of the Surviving Winter Campaign so far, Suffolk Foundation administrator, Jade Wilding, said: “I love the immediate impact this campaign has on providing financial assistance to those older people most in need. I am really grateful to all the East Anglian Daily Times readers for being so generous. It is exciting to open the post each morning as the donation forms arrive.”
Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Lord Tollemache, has backed the campaign by donating his Winter Fuel Payment. He said: “I am very happy to lend my support to the appeal as I am acutely aware that there are many in the county who are going to find the winter ahead very difficult indeed.
“I have donated my own payment in response to the appeal, and as patron of The Suffolk Foundation, I would like to extend my thanks to all those who have done the same.”
The over 50s company, Saga, labelled the national statistics as “shocking” and said they were backing the Surviving Winter campaign to help prevent more lives being lost.
The charity Independent Age said the deaths had all been “preventable”. Their chief executive Janet Morrison, said older people were especially vulnerable during the cold winter months, adding: “They must keep their room temperatures higher than younger people to stay healthy, and are likely to spend a lot more time indoors.
“But given the current cost of fuel prices this can be a real strain, and leads some to cutting back on other basics, or risking the cold.”
Surviving Winter forms will be printed regularly in the EADT over the coming weeks and all the details will be available to help people make a contribution.
Pledge forms can be picked up from all East of England Co-operative Society stores throughout the winter.
You can call The Suffolk Foundation directly on 01473 602602 to pay by card or visit its website, www.suffolk foundation.org.uk
Print a form and donate to Surviving Winter, visit our campaign page - see link above right.