A retired dentist who gave £1million to charity has been honoured at the “Oscars of the private banking world”.
Malcolm Joyce, of Tynemouth, made the donation to Alzheimer’s Society last year – thought to be the largest sum given by an individual in the charity’s 38-year history.
And this week he was named Philanthropist of the Year at the Spear’s Management Wealth Awards, with previous winners including Sir Richard Branson in 2014.
Mr Joyce, 82, dedicated the accolade to his late wife Jean, who lived with dementia for several years towards the end of their 58-year marriage.
He said: “When I was shortlisted for this award I could have collapsed, but to actually win it is incredible. I’m still in shock. I really didn’t think I was in with a chance.
“I am dedicating the award to my wife Jean. She was the love of my life and I’m sure she’d be very proud of me today.”
Following Jean’s death in 2015, Mr Joyce had initially planned to leave Alzheimer’s Society money in his will.
But he said: “I woke up one morning and thought to myself ‘why wait until I’m dead?’ so I decided there and then to call Alzheimer’s Society and offer the money.
“Apparently they thought I was joking at first when I told them how much I wanted to give.”
Since making the donation Mr Joyce has become a valuable ambassador for Alzheimer’s Society.
Born in Rowlands Gill, Mr Joyce now lives in a two-bed flat where he enjoys an ‘ordinary lifestyle’.
He said: “People might think giving away £1m was an unusual thing for someone in my position to do, or that I did it on the spur of the moment.
“But I can honestly say I was happy with my decision from the moment I’d made it and I haven’t regretted it once.
“There must be lots of people in my position affected by dementia, so if my actions encourage others to make a donation to Alzheimer’s Society that would be a bonus.”
Alzheimer’s Society Trustee Sarah Weir OBE said: “Malcolm is a modest individual who has done something quite remarkable, so we are thrilled that his generosity has been recognised at this prestigious awards ceremony.
“His gift has made a vital contribution towards advancing care and research for people living with dementia.
“We have used it to help fund major research projects at two doctoral training centresuniversities, investigating ways to improve care practices and to support people with dementia and their families through difficult times of change.
“About a third of the donation has also gone towards supporting services we provide in the North East of Englandover three years.
“Thanks to Malcolm’s backing we will be able to ensure more people are aware of dementia and the support they can get.”
At the awards ceremony a spokesperson for Spear’s Magazine said: “We gave Malcolm this award due to the heartfelt sincerity of his account of his experience with his wife, and how he cared for her through a traumatic period of their lives.
“His desire to make a difference to people living with dementia worldwide by contributing to research into a cure for the disease is noble. We therefore felt it was important to rightfully honour Malcolm’s touching gift to Alzheimer’s Society with this award.”