A PICTURE of 300 pairs of slippers on the shores of Derwentwater has launched Cumbria Community Foundation’s annual Winter Warmth Appeal.

The slippers - one for each life sadly lost to the winter cold - has been set up at Surprise View, near Keswick, to graphically bring home the harsh reality of fuel poverty in the county.

“Every year we appeal to the public to give money to help keep our older neighbours warm and safe in the winter months," said Andy Beeforth, the charity's chief executive. "We know that, on average, in a bad winter an extra 300 people will lose their lives to the effects of the plummeting temperatures. In our worst winters, this figure has risen to more than 500.

"We know for every one degree drop in temperature, the mortality rate increases, even in relatively mild every winters.

“It’s easy to become complacent about the numbers and not think about what they mean. Our photo illustrates that each one of those older people matters, they are someone’s mum or dad, gran or grandad, brother or sister, husband or wife.

"Bringing the slippers together for this photo made me stop in my tracks, it made me realise just how many people we lose unnecessarily.

“More than 120,000 Cumbrians receive the Winter Fuel Payment and to many it’s a lifeline but for those that don’t need it we can pass the money on to someone who is choosing between heating and eating this winter. Maybe we can help keep some of those slippers in front of a warm fire, where they should be.”

Launched in 2010, the Winter Warmth Appeal has raised £630,000 to help thousands of older people who are in danger of becoming ill or even dying because of the cold.