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

James Batchelor, who is behind Windermere-based Alertacall, will support The Silver Line in his new role.

The charity was founded by Dame Esther in 2013, 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.

“It's a privilege to be invited to join The Silver Line as a trustee and to be able to support something so important."

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

James, of Windermere, has helped to create a number of successful ventures over the last 25 years and for the last decade has been focused on creating clever ways to improve contact for older people through the award-winning business Alertacall, which employs around 70 people.

Inspired originally by the needs of his own grandmother who was called Eveline - James made over 50,000 phone calls to older people and visited 1,000 in their own homes over several years to understand their needs, and so that he could invent ways to improve daily contact for them.