Freezing Britain's unusually harsh winter could have cost thousands of pensioners their lives.
This month is on track to be the coldest March for 50 years – and as the bitter Arctic conditions caused blackouts and traffic chaos yesterday, experts warned of an 'horrendous' death toll among the elderly.
About 2,000 extra deaths were registered in just the first two weeks of March compared with the average for the same period over the past five years.
And for February, 3,057 extra deaths were registered in England and Wales compared with the five-year average for the month.
Campaigners at Age UK, which says 26,000 people die needlessly in winter every year, said the current weather could prove deadly for thousands more.
Director general Michelle Mitchell said: 'Colder, harsher winters tend to lead to an increase in life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks and strokes which in turn leads to a high rate of excess winter deaths.
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