A widower is preparing to honour his late wife’s memory with a special fundraising event.
Tony Lester was with his wife Madge through thick and thin for nearly 50 years.
Now Tony, 78, of North Shields, is looking to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society with a fundraising event on Saturday at North Shields Rugby Club.
He said: “Madge was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2007 and died in five years later.
“I cared for her throughout that time and watched her change from a strong, independent woman to someone who had completely lost her confidence.
“That’s why I wanted to do something in her memory, and to support the Alzheimer’s Society, which is a wonderful charity.”
Rock, soul and pop band the Gatecrashers will perform and a buffet, courtesy of Principal Building Products, will be provided – all for an entrance fee of £2.50.
When she was younger, Madge forged her father’s signature in order to join the WRENs, and she was decorated after being injured by shrapnel when a German bomb landed on a cinema in Dover.
They met when they both worked for a clothing company in Leeds in the late 50s and married in 1962. Madge was 14 years his senior.
Tony said: “She described me to friends as the original toy boy. But age gaps of 14 years were unusual back then, especially if the woman was older, so she kept it a secret from most people.
“She was a feisty woman.She once hit me over the head with a pewter pot when we ran a pub together because I had organised a lock-in for our darts team without telling her.
“Years later, after we’d moved on from the pub trade, I came home from a three-day construction industry conference to discover she’d sold our house because she was bored.”
However, the disease did eventually take its toll and as Madge’s memory became increasingly shaky there were times when she struggled to even recognise Tony.
He added: “She’d look at me and say ‘who the hell are you?’ and that was hard to cope with – but that’s what dementia can do to someone.
“Despite everything though, we had a great life together. She died peacefully at home, with me holding her hand. I had cared for her for five years and had no regrets.”
• Tickets for the fundraiser can be obtained in advance by calling 0191 257 7352, or they can be purchased at North Shields Rugby Club on the night.