A RETIRED North-East dentist who made the largest individual donation in a charity’s 38-year history will attend a special event at Buckingham Palace.

Malcolm Joyce donated £1million to the Alzheimer’s Society in 2016 in memory of his late wife Jean.

And next week he will meet Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra – an Alzheimer’s Society Patron – in recognition of his support.

Mr Joyce, from Tynemouth, North Tynemouth, will join 350 guests at the celebratory event on Monday.

It aims to recognise the powerful role music can play in enriching people’s lives, including those living with dementia.

The 83-year-old said: “I’m thrilled to bits to be invited to such a prestigious event. At my age I won’t get many more opportunities like this – it really is once-in-a-lifetime – so I’m looking forward to it immensely.”

“It’s going to be so much more than just a visit to Buckingham Palace, although that in itself will be rather special.

“I enjoy classical music and there are some very exciting performances to look forward to.”

The event will unite four of Princess Alexandra’s Patronages – Alzheimer’s Society, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Choir and Wigmore Hall.

And it will feature a special demonstration of a service pioneered by Alzheimer’s Society known as Singing for the Brain, which uses music therapy to give a voice to people living with dementia.

It is not the first time Mr Joyce’s support has been recognised. In November he was named ‘Philanthropist of the Year’ at the Spear’s Wealth Management Awards, known as the ‘Oscars of the banking world’ at London’s Dorchester Hotel. Previous winners have included Sir Richard Branson.

He dedicated the award to his wife of 58 years Jean, who died with dementia in 2015.

Mr Joyce said: “Jean would be so proud of me. It’s such an honour to receive this invitation. I can honestly say I never anticipated any of this attention.”

And he added: “When I called Alzheimer’s Society to tell them I wanted to give £1m I thought it was a fairly normal thing to do. I wasn’t expecting any fuss.

“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 work at two Doctoral Training Centres in Bradford and Southampton, among eight such centres of excellence set up by the charity to address an urgent need for research into the diagnosis, care and treatment of the condition.

And it is helping to fund a range of services in the North East for people living with dementia and their carers.