Is Saffron Walden's 93-year-old world's oldest Easter bunny?
PUBLISHED: 16:54 22 March 2016 | UPDATED: 16:54 22 March 2016
Setting out to be "the oldest Easter bunny in the world", a grandad fed up with being told "life is over" once you're in a care home, has decided to take to the streets as an Easter Bunny to prove you can still have fun at 93.
After reading another “depressing” article in a national newspaper, Stanley Bennett decided enough was enough and has planned to dress up as the Easter mascot to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Stanley, with the help of his son Ron, will be spreading some Easter cheer at Tesco in Saffron Walden, on Thursday, March 24 between 10am and noon.
The pair will be handing out 300 chocolate eggs while taking round a collection bucket for the UK’s leading dementia research charity, before going round the town centre. The great grandfather-of-two wants to raise awareness for all the “wonderful” care homes, including Stanley Wilson Lodge in Saffron Walden, where he says he has had a great experience with over the past few years.
Stanley’s wife Agnes died suffering from vascular dementia in September 2014, aged 91, having been diagnosed 10 years earlier.
Because she went into the care home, Stanley, once a night printer at The Daily Sketch, decided he too would move into the home so he could see her every day.
Stanley, who still lives in the home, where the pair celebrated their 72nd anniversary, said: “I kept reading articles that suggested the quality of care in homes is always very poor and life is over once you’re there.
“But I could not fault the help my wife received, and I’ve been given a new lease of life while living there. Now I want to give something back. “I want to get out there and spread the word about both Alzheimer’s Research UK’s ground-breaking work, the wonderful care home I live in and most of all I want to make people smile over Easter.
“I’ll be handing out full-sized Easter eggs to all the residents at Stanley Wilson Lodge on Friday.”
Despite requiring a frame to walk around the home and needing a wheelchair for his egg distribution, Stan’s granddaughter Hannah says he is “larger than life” and very active.
She said: “My nan was a tiny, feisty, Scottish lady. In my grandparents’ relationship she would always take the lead.
“When my grandmother died, instead of sitting in the care home, my gramps decided to make the most of life, something which I am so proud of him for. “He’s very determined to raise money to help dementia research.”
Jessica Hiscocks, regional fundraising officer for Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “I’d like to thank Stanley for getting into the spirit of Easter and cheering everyone up as the Easter Bunny.
“There are 850,000 people across the UK living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, including more than 20,000 in Essex.
“We rely on donations and it’s thanks to people like Stanley that Alzheimer’s Research UK is able to continue its pioneering work into finding treatments and preventions for dementia.”
To donate to Stanley’s fundraising page go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Stan-Bennett.