An Elvis tribute singer left Alzheimer’s Society staff all shook up this week when he handed them a cheque for more than £1,000.
Fred Davies, a funeral director at Derek Moss Funeral Directors, in Shiney Row, raised the money for the charity after putting on an Elvis tribute performance.
The 61-year-old singer decided to back the charity after losing his mother Anne, a dementia sufferer, five years ago.
He put on his Elvis act at Newbottle Workingmen’s Club, in Houghton, and with the backing of his employers - who are part of the Dignity Caring group - he managed to raise £1,035.
Fred said: “Dementia is a dreadful disease that robs people of their personality – I honestly felt like I lost my mum about three years before she passed away.
“Our company arranges about three fundraising events a year and one day, when I was driving past the Alzheimer’s Society day centre in Pennywell, Sunderland, it struck me that we should raise money for them.”
The granddad-of-seven had been a professional entertainer for 25 years, but hung up his blue suede shoes after his father was killed in a road accident around 15 years ago.
He recalled: “My dad’s death was so unexpected and horrific that I had real difficulty coming to terms with it.
“I just couldn’t bring myself to sing afterwards.
“But I started to sing in care homes and that’s how I got my confidence back.”
Wendy Hunter, Services Manager for Alzheimer’s Society in Sunderland, said: “The effort Fred and his employers went to was remarkable and I can’t thank them enough.”