This time of year can be very lonely for many older people who are without friends or relatives.

Age Concern is urgently calling on people to donate their spare foreign currency to the Fight The Freeze Foreign Coin Appeal.

Throughout the winter months, Age Concern organisations provide older people with a wide range of winter services, advice and support.

These include befriending services, luncheon and day club services.

With the introduction of the euro on January 1, 12 European currencies will go out of circulation and, by February 2002, will no longer be legal tender.

Most of us come back from holiday with a pocketful of foreign coins and, by donating this loose change, you could help an older person.

So start your spring clean early - empty those drawers and search those suitcases for any loose change.

You have until the end of February to make your deposits at the following participating organisations: Bank of Scotland, Britannia Building Society, Halifax, Northern Rock, Skipton Building Society and Travelcare.

A happy and peaceful New Year to you all.

-Chris Tarrant, Age Concern