THOUSANDS of pensioners are backing a campaign calling on government to create a Minister for Older People.

More than 60,000 people have signed the Grey Pride petition, which is being run by retirement home provider Anchor.

It aims to celebrate growing old and champion older people by giving them a voice at the highest level.

Erith and Thamesmead MP Teresa Pearce met with people at Anchor’s Stone Court, in Erith High Street, Erith, to hear why a minister is important to them and to sign the petition.

Resident Patricia Johnson, 81, said: “We want a minister to appreciate us.

“They could involve older people in the decision making process and try to treat the older people as part of the community not as a separate entity.

“Us greys have a lot to offer. We need our voice. We need our say.”

While 70-year-old Dianne Freeman said: “We would feel more included if we had a minister.

“It’s such a large group that it should have its own representative.

“Everyone else seems to have one. There’s ones for sport, women and children.”

The campaign hopes to achieve 100,000 signatures before it hands the petition over to Downing Street in November.

Ms Pearce said: “Older people already make up 25 per cent of the population and life expectancy is only set to increase as people live happily into older age.

“It’s really important older people get the services they have worked and paid for and the sort of attention they deserve.

“The minister would look at services provided to people and make sure older people are not excluded.”

To sign the petition, visit