An airline pilot is flying himself to Mount Fiji in a bid to raise funds for Independent Age, the older people‟s charity.

Next Week, Yaw Bentil, from Sutton in London, will fly himself, colleagues and crew to Japan to climb the 12,000 foot mountain as part of Virgin Atlantic‟s charity adventure challenges.

The money raised by Yaw‟s climb will go towards helping more isolated older people receive befriending services from Independent Age.

Yaw said, “I first heard about Independent age through my partner Jocelyn. Jocelyn has two grandmothers who live quite far away and is unable to visit them as often as she would like”.

“Because of this she decided to volunteer to help other elderly people closer by who may need contact with someone once in a while. For the last four years Jocelyn has been visiting Margaret, where she will sit with her, have a chat and a nice cup of tea!”

“As part of the challenge, we are encouraged to raise money for charity. At least 50% of the money raised by each individual goes to the Virgin Atlantic charity Free the Children”.

“The other half can be donated to a charity of the individual‟s choice. Having seen the great work that Independent Age does first hand - and the difference it has made to Margaret - raising money for this charity was an easy choice. I am very proud to be raising money for such a worthwhile cause”.

Much of the climb will take place at night, with Yaw and his colleagues expecting to reach the summit at sunrise.

Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age said, “We are really grateful to Yaw for his fabulous fundraising efforts. Over 1 million people say they often or always feel lonely. And loneliness has been shown to have a profound impact on physical and mental health.”

“The money raised will help us reach out to older people through our befriending services. We would encourage those who live far from relatives, to follow this example and befriend someone locally if they feel they want to make a difference”.

“We‟ve also just brought out a free Wise Guide book: Healthy, Happy, Connected - Support and Advice for Older People Living Alone. It‟s packed with support and ideas for older people who live alone who want to make the most of life. To order your free guide for yourself, a relative or neighbour please call freephone 0800 319 6611 or order online at www.independentage.org”

You can support Yaw‟s fundraising efforts by visiting his VirginMoneyGiving page at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/yawsif

About Independent Age:

Founded 150 years ago, Independent Age is a growing charity helping older people across the UK and Ireland through the „A, B, C‟ of advice, befriending and campaigning. We offer a free national telephone and email advice service focusing on social care, welfare benefits and befriending services, which is supported by a wide range of printed guides and factsheets. This is integrated with on-the-ground, local support, provided by a network of over 1,500 volunteers offering one-to-one and group befriending.

For more information, visit our website www.independentage.org Speak to one of our advisers for free and confidential advice and information. Lines are open Monday to Friday between 10am - 4pm. Freephone 0800 319 6789 or email advice@independentage.org

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