The number one cause of loneliness in older men in the UK is bereavement, new research has revealed.
More than 140,000 male pensioners in Britain admit they suffered from loneliness as a result of their partner dying.
A huge 58 per cent of men over 75 also admitted they had lost their social life after the death of a loved one, and 43 per cent admit to losing their confidence.
And a quarter of the over 75s questioned said that they missed having someone to share their hobbies with.
Many said that they would like to have someone to attend a sporting event with while others said they would like a friend to go to the pub to watch a match with.
In light of the survey rugby clubs across Britain have teamed up with older people’s charity Royal Voluntary Service in a campaign against loneliness.
It is hoped the new scheme can provide people over 75 a companion to attend sporting matches with and reduce the problem of loneliness.
The aim of the campaign is to highlight a variety of roles the volunteers can fulfil, from driving service users to games to taking an older person to a GP appointment.
Rugby teams, including Leicester Tigers, London Irish, Cardiff Blues, Castleford Tigers, Bradford Bulls, Salford Red Devils, Huddersfield Giants and St Helens are supporting the campaign.
They have invited older men from the local area to attend a game with their volunteer.
Welsh International player, Josh Turnbull said: “Sport has a great way of bringing people together in camaraderie and joint passion.
“Many older men miss out on supporting their local team as they don’t have a companion to come along to a game with, or a friendly face to chat about their hobbies.
“I would encourage men to sign up as volunteers to help older men across the country rediscover their love of sport.”
Not asking for help
David McCullough, Chief Executive at Royal Voluntary Service added: “We are all aware that there are hundreds of thousands of older people suffering from loneliness in Great Britain but many men are facing loneliness and not asking for help.
“As we get older and lose our friends and family we often lose touch with the activities that used to give us pleasure such as supporting the local rugby team, taking walks with a friend, or going out for a meal or a pint at the pub.
“We know from talking to the older men who use our services that they love taking part in these activities with other gentlemen, so we need more male volunteers to enable us to help those who are no longer able to enjoy their hobbies and are feeling the acute effects of loneliness.”