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Feeling lonely? Britain's Captain Tom launches podcast to tackle isolation

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s 100-year-old charity hero, Captain Tom Moore, becomes one of the country’s oldest podcasters with the launch on Monday of a series to tackle isolation among older people, a corporate sponsor said on Monday.

The podcast, called The Originals, is part of a campaign by charity Age UK and Cadbury’s that aims to inspire people to have a meaningful conversation with an older person, a Cadbury’s statement said, noting that social isolation, especially among the elderly, has worsened during the COVID-19 crisis.

“I hope The Originals podcast will help encourage everyone to start a proper conversation with an older person,” the statement quoted Moore as saying. “We have hundreds of amazing tales just waiting to be told.”

It is the latest venture for the World War Two veteran who was knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth for raising 39 million pounds ($50.5 million) for the health service by walking laps of his garden during lockdown earlier this year.

He also broke two Guinness world records, scored a No. 1 single, wrote a book and has signed a deal to film a biopic of his life.

His podcast interviewees include Winston Garvey, an 83-year-old bodybuilder who still lifts weights three times a week, and Rose Knox-Peebles, a 79-year-old writer and art collector, who reveals a kiss with Elvis Presley, the statement said.

Age UK said in the statement that 25,000 older people typically go for a week without speaking to anyone, while more than 6 million older people say just a few minutes of conversation makes a difference to them.

“It’s so hard for many older people to stay connected at the moment, especially if they live alone, and we’re delighted to be working with Cadbury and Capt Tom on this campaign to raise awareness of this heart-breaking issue,” it said.

($1 = 0.7717 pounds)

Writing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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