A Hertfordshire charity has told the Watford Observer about the “heart-breaking” plight of some elderly people it has been helping this winter.

Small Acts of Kindness chief executive Lynne Misner said three of the charity’s clients were found suffering in the cold while volunteers were out delivering Warm in Winter gift bags.

The charity has provided 5,000 gift bags for the elderly which contain warm clothes and blankets and asked people who can to forego their Winter Fuel Payment to help the most vulnerable pensioners in the county.

The campaign was started because in the winter of 2016-17 there were 31,000 excess winter deaths among over 65s from cold-related illness such as heart attacks and strokes across the country.

Lynne said: “It is heart-breaking to hear some of the stories. A lady who we thought was on her way out for the day because she opened the door in her coat, in fact always wears her coat indoors because her house is so cold.

“Then we encountered a 94-year-old man who only turns his heating on for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, and then a lovely couple whose illnesses mean that they really cannot move around very much.”

Thanks to a successful Winter Fuel Payment campaign, the charity has been able to distribute an additional 1,000 gift bags to people and it has worked with Raise over Christmas to make sure older people on their own receive festive gifts.

Lynne added: “We’re delighted that the huge support we’ve received from local businesses, schools and individuals means we can extend our Celebrate Christmas gifts for older, often lonely and isolated people in Hertfordshire.

“A huge thank you to everyone who has helped make this happen.”

Donations of Winter Fuel Payments can be made via the charity’s web site www.smallactsofkindness.co.uk

If eligible for Gift Aid the charitable donation will increase by an additional 25 per cent.