94-year-old dresses up as Father Christmas for Alzheimer’s Research UK

21 December 2016

A Saffron Walden grandad determined to still have fun at 94 has raised hundreds of pounds for Alzheimer’s Research UK after dressing up as Father Christmas.

Stanley Bennett, with the help of his son Ron, was spotted spreading some festive cheer at his local Tesco in Saffron Walden on 12 December, raising over £200 for the UK’s leading dementia research charity.Stan Bennett2 (002)

Stanley is known for his entertaining fundraising – in March he also raised over £1,200 while dressing up as an Easter Bunny.

The great grandfather-of-two decided to go ahead with his quirky fundraisers after reading another “depressing” article in a national newspaper which suggested “life is over” once you’re in a care home.

As well as raising money for research, Stanley aims to raise awareness for all the “wonderful” care homes, including Stanley Wilson Lodge in Saffron Walden, which he says he has had a great experience with over the last few years.

Stan and Agnes on their 72nd wedding anniversary

Stan and Agnes on their 72nd wedding anniversary

Stanley’s wife Agnes sadly died with vascular dementia in September 2014, at the age of 91, after being diagnosed 10 years earlier, and lived in the care home before she passed away.

Desperate to stay with his wife, Stanley, who spent his life working as a night printer at The Daily Sketch, decided he too would move into the home – and lived just upstairs so he could see her every day.

Stanley, who still lives in Stanley Wilson Lodge, 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. 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.”

Despite requiring a frame to walk around the home and needing a wheelchair for his collection, 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.”Stan Bennett (002)

Jessica Hiscocks, Regional Fundraising 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 fundraising page go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Stan-Bennett.

To watch Alzheimer’s Research UK’s new Christmas advert, Santa Forgot, go to https://alzheimersresearchuk.org/.