Den­tist’s £1m gift in mem­ory of his wife

For­mer Peter­bor­ough den­tist Mal­colm Joyce do­nates £1 mil­lion to The Alzheimer’s So­ci­ety in mem­ory of his wife Jean

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - BY Stephen Briggs stephen.briggs@peter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk Twit­ter: @PTstephenB

Aden­tist who helped thou­sands of peo­ple smile at his surgery in Peter­bor­ough has given a char­ity a huge rea­son to beam with de­light in mem­ory of his wife. Mal­colm Joyce handed a cheque for £1m to the Alzheimer’s So­ci­ety – one of the largest the char­ity has re­ceived from a sin­gle donor in its 37-year his­tory.

The ges­ture comes just one year af­ter the death of his wife Jean, who bat­tled de­men­tia in the fi­nal years of their mar­riage.

Mal­colm,(81), re­main swell known in Peter­bor­ough, hav­ing worked at a prac­tice at 150 Park Road in the city from 1962 to March 2000.

He was a prom­i­nent fig­ure in the the­atre world, ap­pear­ing in nu­mer­ous Mask The­atre pro­duc­tions at the Key The­atre over sev­eral years in the 70s, and was known for the sound of his melodic singing fill­ing the surgery while he was at work.

Mean­while, Jean worked be­hind the scenes on sets and cos­tumes.

Mal­colm said: “Jean was a very kind, warm-hearted per­son and did a lot of vol­un­tary work. She helped out as an as­sis­tant at St Ge­orge’s School, work­ing with chil­dren who had Down’s Syn­drome and other l earn­ing dis­abil­i­ties.

“She had a real tal­ent for be­ing able to re­late to such chil­dren. She also spent time work­ing for the char­ity Ananta, which helped teenagers who were home­less or ex­pe­ri­enc­ing other prob­lems .”

Alzheimer’s So­ci­ety staff were stunned when Mal­colm, who now lives in Tynemouth, North Ty­ne­side, con­tacted them to of­fer the huge sum.

Jean was di­ag­nosed with Alzheimer’s dis­ease in 2008, but Mal­colm sus­pected all was not well long be­fore then.

He­said: “Jean was show­ing signs of mem­ory loss and con­fu­sion a cou­ple of years be­fore we were given an ac­tual di­ag­no­sis. “I re­mem­ber be­ing on a plane to Aus­tralia in 2006 and she turned to me and asked if she could take a shower, so I sus­pected all was not well then.

“Even­tu­ally it be­came ob­vi­ous. I’d see her at­tempt­ing seem­ingly sim­ple house­hold tasks that she clearly wasn’t ca­pa­ble of do­ing – and when I’d try to help she’d ac­cuse me of treat­ing her as if she were stupid.

“Peo­ple have no idea how dif­fi­cult it is to ex­pe­ri­ence some­thing like that – to watch some­one you love go through such frus­tra­tion .”

Mal­colm looked af­ter Jean for as long as pos­si­ble be­fore she moved into a care home, which be­came nec­es­sary af­ter he was di­ag­nosed with a life-lim­it­ing ill­ness him­self.

He said: “I was told I had bowel can­cer four years ago, but com­pared with Jean’ s con- di­tion that seemed rel­a­tively unim­por­tant.”

Mal­colm, who was mar­ried to Jean for 58 years, added: “Even though she seemed to have for­got­ten who I was, her emo­tional mem­ory re­mained in­tact. I re­mem­ber one time, quite close to the end, when I put my arm around her and pulled her close to me and she whis­pered ‘that’s nice’. That brought me some com­fort.”

Mal­colm hopes his do­na­tion will not only aid re­search but help peo­ple to cope with a di­ag­no­sis by ac­cess­ing early sup­port.

He said: “If I can save just one cou­ple from go­ing through what we went through it will have been worth it.”

‘If I can save one cou­ple .... It will have been worth it.’ Mal­colm Joyce ‘Peo­ple have no idea how dif­fi­cult it is to ex­pe­ri­ence’ Mal­colm Joyce

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