Thursday, 22 January 2009

Icelanders offer help to UK's fuel poor pensioners -

Icelanders, recently condemned as being terrorists and thereby made penniless by the fearsome and fearless actions of our brave Prime Minister as he saved the world, are fighting back. With kindness.

A morning radio programme in Iceland, Bitid, launched an appeal called Islensk Ull til Englands (what do mean you don't know what that means? Can't you speak Icelandic? Try Iceland Wool to England. I don't know, monoglots everywhere these days...) The programme's hosts, Heimir Karlsson and Kolbrun Bjornsdottir, covered a story featuring the National Pensioners Convention (NPC), and their warning that up to 1 in 12 pensioners may die this winter due to the drop in temperature, and the kindness of the Icelandic people took off with enough donations of jumpers, socks and blankets being made to fill one of those big container things that are used for shipping freight and it will arrive in Grimsby on the 26th of January.

It's being shipped, free of charge, by Icelandic shipping company Samskip, and other Icelandic businesses gave bags and boxes for packing the stuff - again free of charge. The Icelandic organisers hope to formally hand over the garments at the end of next week to a charity of welfare organisation in the city of Hull (twinned with Reykjavik) to distribute to local pensioners.

I can't help but agree with NPC spokesperson, Neil Duncan-Jordan, who said:
"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. But it is also a shocking indictment of the UK government's complete inability to properly tackle the problem of winter deaths amongst older people."
"In the last decade we have lost 260,000 pensioners during the winter months and the response from Whitehall has been a deafening silence. We hope this act of kindness will shame the government into raising the state pension and the winter fuel allowance so that pensioners have the confidence to turn on the heating when they need it without the fear of what it might cost."
Nor can I find any disagreement with the broadcaster, Heimir Karlsson, who said:
"When we broadcast the story that UK pensioners were dying from the cold, our listeners could not believe their own ears. We decided to give the Icelandic nation four days to fill a 20ft container of pure Icelandic wool for the pensioners in Britain. Families, some from far away, came one after another with garments to fill the container. Some of the sweaters were brand new. One 9 year old girl gathered 37 beautiful sweaters and delivered it to us at the radio station."
"I am sure I speak on behalf of every living soul in Iceland when I say that we looked at it with an utter dismay and total disbelief, how badly the government of the United Kingdom treats its old people. 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!"

Note that the figures given are for pensioner deaths in England and Wales, the Scottish figures are about 1 in 400 - still some room for improvement.

The Icelandic people, though, to them I raise my metaphorical hat - or perhaps a wee jumper would be better.


paul said...

I as a pensioner saw this on tv and was amazed at two elderly ladies comments.Perhaps they are better off finacially than most of us.This is a most generous offer from the Icelandic people when their own country is going through a crisis.If the dj who set this up or any of the people in Iceland get to read this god bless you all .Paul a cold oldie.x

paul said...

I could not believe the comments made by a couple of pensioners on tv this morning I am a pensioner and what a most generous offer by the Icelandic people when their own country is suffering in this economic downturn.If the dj or any Icelandic folke read this .God bless you all you have so much heart and kindness,unlike our non caring government.Paul x