Dame Ester Rantzen's Lancashire-based elderly people's charity drafts in entrepreneur as trustee

Dame Esther Rantzen, James Batchelor and Sophie Andrews
Dame Esther Rantzen, James Batchelor and Sophie Andrews

One of Cumbria’s leading entrepreneurs has been appointed as trustee to a Blackpool based national charity which was founded by TV star Dame Esther Rantzen.

James Batchelor, the businessman and inventor behind Windermere-based Alertacall, will support The Silver Line in his new role.

The charity was founded by Dame Esther in 2013, and was inspired by the loneliness she experienced after the death of her husband, the BBC producer Desmond Wilcox.

James said: “The Silver Line is a direct-action charity that genuinely changes the lives of older people. Its overheads are low and that means you can have confidence that anything you donate to it, really will help older people - feel connected, and part of the real world again.”

The Silver Line operates a confidential, free helpline for older people open 24 hours a day, and since being launched has received more than two million calls.

Sophie Andrews, the CEO of the charity, who has overseen the growth of the organisation to several hundred team members based in London and Blackpool, and a network of thousands of volunteers said: “It’s wonderful news that James is able to join The Silver Line as a Trustee.

"He has been a keen and helpful supporter of the charity for several years, is an expert on the ageing population and also an incredible source of ideas about how we can grow the charity - and do so in a sustainable way.”

Dame Esther said: “I am delighted that The Silver Line will be able to use the skill and commitment James Batchelor has already shown in the creation of his services for older people. I greatly admire his work in this sector, and I look forward to working with him in order to reach out to the most vulnerable and isolated.”