Royal recognition for charity donor
A retired dentist who gave Â£1million to Alzheimer's Society was among the guests at a special event in Buckingham Palace on Monday.
Malcolm Joyce, of Tynemouth, donated the huge sum to the charity in 2016 in memory of his late wife, Jean.
On Monday, the 83-year-old met and chatted with Princess Alexandra, the Queen’s cousin, who is an Alzheimer’s Society patron.
The event highlighted the powerful role music can play in enriching people’s lives, including those living with dementia, and it included a celebration concert featuring an orchestra and choir.
This was followed by dinner at The Ritz hotel.
Mr Joyce, whose donation was the largest made by an individual donor in the charity’s 38-year history, said the concert was ‘absolutely wonderful’.
He added: “I had a fabulous time at Buckingham Palace and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Princess Alexandra.
“She was very down to earth and created a very relaxing atmosphere. She was very kind and didn’t act at all superior.
“It was always my intention to leave the money in my will. Then I woke up one morning and thought ‘why wait until I’m dead?’
“I rang Alzheimer’s Society the same day. At first they thought I was joking when I told them how much I wanted to give, but I’ve never regretted it for a moment.”
The donation is supporting vital research work and helping to fund a range of services in the North East for people living with dementia and their carers.
In November, Mr Joyce was named Philanthropist of the Year at the Spear’s Wealth Management Awards.
He dedicated the award to his wife of 58 years, Jean, who died with dementia in 2015.
The event at Buckingham Palace united four of Princess Alexandra’s patronages – Alzheimer’s Society, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Choir and Wigmore Hall’s Music for Life.
It also featured a special demonstration of a service pioneered by Alzheimer’s Society, known as Singing for the Brain.