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Age Cymru: Christmas is a 'lonely time' for the elderly

Age Cymru say that whilst Christmas is a time of 'happiness' for many of us, it can be a very 'lonely time' for older people.

This should be a time of happiness when we can look forward to being with our families and friends and enjoying each other's company.

But it can instead be a lonely time when older people can feel that they are a burden on those closest to them.

This is why Spread the Warmth - Age Cymru's annual campaign to prevent thousands of older people in Wales suffering needlessly in winter, is so important.

Funds raised by Spread the Warmth are used to provide Winter Celebration Grants to groups across Wales so that we can bring some cheer to those who are alone or isolated at Christmas.

– Ian Thomas, Age Cymru's Chief Executive Officer

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Older people in Wales not looking forward to Christmas

22 per cent of older people in Wales are not looking forward to Christmas. Credit: PA

Latest research by Age Cymru has revealed that 22 per cent of older people in Wales are not looking forward to Christmas.

The study also revealed that one fifth of those who were not looking forward to Christmas said that it brought back too many memories of those who had passed away.

Age Cymru has set up a Spread the Warmth campaign to help tackle health, heating and loneliness issues for older people this winter.

First Minister's Christmas message

First Minister and Leader of Welsh Labour Carwyn Jones issues his Christmas message Credit: PA Images

First Minister Carwyn Jones has released a Christmas message to the people of Wales:

“I’d like to extend my best wishes for the festive period to everybody across Wales. Christmas is a special time where many of us have the opportunity to celebrate with friends and family.

“However, each Christmas my thanks and thoughts are reserved for the Armed Forces, many of whom are serving abroad away from their families. Just one of the many sacrifices they make to protect our country.

“I also pay thanks to those working in our emergency services, where Christmas is not a holiday. Their hard work and commitment continues to benefit us all year round.

“I wish you all a joyful and peaceful Christmas.”

Animals at Folly Farm go crackers for Christmas

The lemurs try to figure out how to open a cracker Credit: Folly Farm Wales

Animals at Folly Farm in Pembrokeshire have been getting into the Christmas spirit this week by opening crackers and hanging up stockings.

Two ring-tailed lemurs are pictured trying to rip open a cracker and three very curious Barbary Macaque monkeys are seen checking out what's inside their stocking.

The pair seem to be getting the hang of it... Credit: Folly Farm Wales
Barbary Macaque monkeys search inside a Christmas stocking Credit: Folly Farm Wales

Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo boasts a collection of over 400 species of exotic animals, many of which are endangered.

For the first time this Christmas, Folly Farm is giving parents the opportunity to purchase the most unusual gift for their children - the ‘Zoo Keeper Experience’.

It gives aspiring Zoo Keepers and animal mad visitors an opportunity to get hands-on with their favourite zoo animals.

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Strong gales and winds to hit Christmas getaway

Rhyl was hit by severe flooding earlier this month Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

People on their way home for Christmas face "quite severe" disruption as strong gales and torrential rain are set to cause travel chaos.

Severe weather warnings are in place for much of the UK, threatening to cause localised flooding across Wales.

There are three flood alerts in place for the Anglesey coastline and Cardigan Bay.

Winds of up to 50-60mph are expected.

The M48 Severn Bridge is closed both ways to high-sided vehicles.

Emma Compton, a forecaster at the Met Office, said this morning that the disruptive weather is already under way, and will be widespread in just a few hours.

She said the South West and Wales have already been hit by rain and added:

"By lunchtime it will be everywhere. It's going to be fairly persistent."

Ms Compton warned that south west-facing places will see the worst of the weather with risks of flooding.

People in Wales most likely to be alone at Christmas

10% of people in Wales will spend Christmas alone

People living in Wales are more likely to spend Christmas alone compared to the rest of the UK, according to a survey by the Salvation Army.

The survey also shows that 1 in 10 people admit they will spend the festive period alone this year.

The charity Campaign to End Loneliness says more than 58,580 people in Wales over the age of 65 admit to feeling lonely all the time and that more needs to be done to raise awareness of the mental effects of loneliness.

Christmas getaway begins

Mid-week Christmas means scenes like this might not be as likely Credit: PA

While it may be wet and windy in Wales, drivers can take consolation that Christmas getaway traffic isn't expected to be as heavy as normal. That's according to the AA.

They believe the main gateway will be spread over several days - from this afternoon until Christmas Eve.

According to Trafficmaster, the AA's traffic information partner, the heaviest traffic in Wales is expected between Junction 20 (M32) and Junction 32 (Cardiff).

But, while the roads may be looking quieter, Cardiff Airport say they're expecting to see more than 20,000 passengers between Christmas and New Years, an 18% increase on last year.

The peak travelling period is the four-day run-up to Christmas Day, when over 9,000 travellers are expected.

The top destination for travellers is international hub Amsterdam, with the majority then choosing to travel worldwide.

Pupils put on sign language Nativity to raise awareness of speech impediments

Pupils from Malpas Court Primary School have put on a special Nativity performing songs using sign language to raise awareness for children with speech impediments.

Experts say speech problems are a hidden disability that can hold a child back in life. The First Minister, Carwyn Jones was among the guests who went along to support them.

Alexandra Lodge reports.

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