The annual winter fuel payments are made to eligible people to help towards their winter heating costs

The annual winter fuel payments are made to eligible people to help towards their winter heating costs

A campaign has been launched to enable wealthier pensioners to donate their winter fuel payments to those who are struggling to keep warm.

The Surviving Winter appeal is backed by groups including the Community Foundation Network and Saga, as well as famous names such as Sir Terry Wogan and Sir David Jason.

The "fuel-anthropy" initiative was previously piloted in Somerset and organisers are rolling it out on a UK-wide scale this year as fuel prices rise, along with the cost of living generally.

Over-50s group Saga said 25,400 older people died in the UK last year due to the cold.

The Government's annual tax-free winter fuel payments are made to eligible people to help towards their winter heating costs.

Pensioners aged over 80 received £400 last year, but this has been cut to £300 this year. Those aged under 80 received £250 last year and will receive £200 this year.

Money raised by the scheme will support local charities and community organisations.

The Surviving Winter appeal is a registered charity, so Gift Aid donations can be made and the appeal will receive tax relief.

Dr Ros Altmann, Saga director-general, said: "Some of our customers last year wrote to us to say they would like their winter fuel payments to help others less fortunate than themselves.

"With rising fuel costs and the Government's decision to cut the winter fuel payments this year, vulnerable older people are suffering a double whammy, so Saga is fully behind this new 'fuel-anthropic' venture, helping channel donations into the right hands."