A ELDERLY couple have become the first to benefit from The Star’s Surviving Winter Appeal.
Dennis and Mary Rix, both aged 75, are among 73,000 pensioners living in fuel poverty in South Yorkshire.
Now the couple have been handed a £125 grant to help heat their home over the cold winter months.
The appeal, co-ordinated by South Yorkshire Community Foundation, has raised more than £11,000 since it was launched in November.
The campaign urges people to donate their winter fuel allowance - given to all over-60s regardless of their circumstances - to those in greater need.
Mr Rix, a retired self-employed salesman, said he and his wife struggled to heat their isolated stone house last winter.
The couple’s home on Blythegate Lane, Tickhill, Doncaster, is not connected to the gas network, which leaves them with no option but to heat their home using oil.
“Last winter really was quite difficult,” Mr Rix said. “It is a very cold house. We always use the heating sparingly. We switch it off at 6pm and try to live in the one room. We have to get into bed very quickly.
“We were getting particularly desperate last Christmas when the snow came. The oil trucks couldn’t get out to us because they couldn’t get down the lane.
“We have had a little bit of extra insulation put in, but the house has no cavities or double glazing and very few areas can actually be insulated.”
Last year the price of heating oil increased by 28.2 per cent, compared to the cost of gas increasing by 5.4 per cent.
Pauline Grice, chief executive of SYCF, said: “We are really seeing the stark reality of fuel poverty and the effect it is having on older people in our area.
“The difficulties being faced really are quite complex, with soaring fuel bills, hard to heat housing and lack of access to certain types of fuel all affecting older people.
n To donate log-on to www.sycf.org.uk/survivingwinter.