Cadbury, Age UK, and Sky Media have launched the new instalment of their ‘Donate Your Words’ campaign centred on elderly loneliness.

The campaign, launched last month, is intended to raise awareness of the epidemic of loneliness amongst older people.

According to Cadbury’s own research, 225,000 older people across the UK regularly go an entire week without speaking to anyone.

The latest phase of the campaign is fronted by Sue Perkins, who spent 30 hours in insolation without internet, phone, or anyone to talk to.

Perkins’ experience was recorded, and will be shown in one 100-second and one 60-second TV spot.

Cadbury are also donating 30 pence from the sale of limited edition Dairy Milk bars to Age UK. Commenting on her reasons for joining the campaign, Perkins said:

“Seven years ago, I was in hospital following a nasty fall. Opposite me in the ward was an 85-year-old woman, Annie, who had been mugged in her home and found several days later cowering under a table.

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“We got chatting over the course of the next few days and spent time getting to know one another. Slowly, her bruises faded. The day before she was discharged, I noticed her holding her neck.

“I asked her if she was in pain, and she said her back felt stiff – so I asked her if she wanted a massage.

Sure enough, she did.

I pottered over and started rubbing her shoulders. I did that for about half an hour until her muscles felt a little less tense.

We chatted the whole time. Then at the end, once my hands were too sore to continue, she turned around, said thanks, and told me, without a shred of self-pity that was the first time she had been touched in 15 years.

That story has stayed with me.

The touch of another human; in friendship, in love, even in passing -is what keeps us connected and grounded.

To have spent a decade and a half without that seemed unimaginably painful.

“I shall think of Annie when I take part in this campaign, and all those who go about their lives without company, or meaningful interaction with others.

Loneliness is my greatest fear.

Let’s help those for whom it is a reality.”

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Jason Hughes, Head of Creative Solutions at Sky Media, commented: “We’re incredibly proud to have worked on this campaign together with Cadbury and Age UK, and hope to help bring the deserved attention to this endemic issue in our society.

Loneliness can often be forgotten, but we’re pleased that through this TV campaign we can encourage Brits around the country to take a moment and think how they can help older people in later life.”

Claudia Miceli Senior Brand Manager at Cadbury, added: “This is a really powerful phase in our campaign to help tackle loneliness together with Age UK.

Seeing the effects of just 30 hours of isolation on Sue really strikes a chord with us, and we’re hoping that we can work together to combat the issue of loneliness.”

Laurie Boult, Fundraising Director at Age UK, said: “This is such a powerful campaign and we hope this next phase will really help people understand just how serious a problem loneliness is.

“Sue’s brief yet challenging experience will do a lot to provide much-needed insight into how so many older people feel every day.

It’s great Sue got to meet Theresa so she was able to fully understand some of the challenges which thousands of older people face when it comes to getting out and about and speaking to people.

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“We hope it will really help to raise widespread awareness of the issue of loneliness and encourage everybody to do their bit to help tackle it.”

Flora Kessler, Strategy Partner, Carat UK, added:

“We’re excited to have worked with Sky, Cadbury and Age UK on bringing this campaign to life.

We wanted to find a platform that could generate generous instinct in popular culture and get people involved to drive a movement, not just a moment, around this important issue.”

“We’re excited to have worked with Sky, Cadbury and Age UK on bringing this campaign to life.

We wanted to find someone who could connect with the nation and bring the issue home.

By volunteering to experience just a small slice of what many older people go through every week, Sue will help drive national conversation and real action around this crisis.”