Cold weather during March led to more than 5,000 extra deaths, Age UK has revealed.
Last month was the second coldest March on record, with official figures showing that there were 4,206 more deaths during the first three weeks of the month than there has been on average for the past five years.
And Age UK believe the cold snap in the final seven days of the month will have pushed the death rate to more than 5,000.
Michelle Mitchell, Age UK's charity director general, said: "It's really worrying that the number of deaths in March this year are significantly higher than the average for the previous five years."
She added that cold homes are dangerous to all, but particularly to the health of older people.
Indeed, on average, 90 per cent of those winter deaths were people aged over 60.
Previous research from Age UK shows that 36 per cent of older people stay or live in just one room in order to keep their heating bills down.
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