Lumely first to sign NHS 'Winter Friend' pledge

Actress Joanna Lumley was the first to pledge to help elderly friends and neighbours through the winter by signing up to an NHS scheme.

Joanna Lumley
Actress Joanna Lumley urged people to sign up to the winter pledge to care for the elderly. Credit: PA

Lumley said she was "proud" to become a "Winter Friend" and urged others to join the scheme.

She said: "A little help really does go a long way. You will also find, I'm sure, that giving a bit of your time in this way is hugely rewarding.

"Older people can be physically frail but they have a lifetime's wisdom and experience to share."

Former Olympic champion Sally Gunnell, actor Sir Tony Robinson and rapper Plan B are also backing the initiative, an NHS England spokesman said.

Read more: 31,000 excess winter deaths

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NHS 'Good Samaritan' call

Health chiefs are calling on the public to help care for the nation's elderly through the winter. NHS England is aiming for an army of Good Samaritans to sign a pledge promising to look on an elderly neighbour.