Ninety-four-year-old Saffron Walden grandad raises money for Alzheimer's Research UK by dressing up as Father Christmas
PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 January 2017
Festivities are enjoyed by all ages, as a 94-year-old granddad from Saffron Walden proved when he dressed up as Santa Claus to raise more than £200 for charity this Christmas.
Stanley Bennett, and his son Ron, went to Tesco on December 12 to collect for Alzheimer’s Research UK after he read a “depressing” article in a newspaper about life ending in a care home.
Agnes, Stanley’s wife, had to live in Stanley Wilson Lodge care home until she passed away after being diagnosed with vascular dementia in September 2014, and because he could not bear to be apart from her, he moved in.
They celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary in the home.
He 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. And now I’m giving something back.
“I want to get out there and spread the word about both Alzheimer’s Research UK’s groundbreaking work, the wonderful care home I live in and most of all I want to make people smile over Christmas time.”
Although Stanley needs a wheelchair and a frame, his granddaughter Hannah says he is “larger than life”.
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.”
Stanley also dressed as the Easter Bunny in March, when he raised £1,200.
Jessica Hiscocks, regional fund raising officer for Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “I’d like to thank Stanley for getting into the spirit of Christmas and cheering everyone up as Santa Claus.
“At the moment 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 public 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 fund raising page, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Stan-Bennett