It was a mission that started 11 years ago after the death of his beloved wife Evelyn.
And now England goalkeeping legend Bert Williams has finally reached his target of raising £150,000 for the charity that helps those with the disease she suffered with.
With the huge fundraising effort the 93-year-old Wolves great – England’s oldest living international – has now set a record as the individual raising the highest amount of money for the leading UK care and research charity for people with dementia.
Bert’s efforts completed a journey started in 2002 after his wife of 60 years, Evelyn, died of Alzheimer’s aged 82.
And Bert, who lives in Shifnal, achieved the milestone with a little help from the Express & Star’s Wolves correspondent Tim Nash, who has raised almost £1,500 for the charity by running the Stratford-on-Avon marathon.
Bert had raised £147,555 before the marathon, and, with further sales of the legend’s glassware collection combined with Tim’s efforts over the gruelling 26.2-mile course, it pushed his total to £150,381 – and there is still a few hundred pounds to come in.
Bert said: “I’m so grateful to everyone who has helped me. Alzheimer’s is the most terrible, awful disease. My wife had it for 12 years and it affects people in every way, physically and mentally. When I looked at my wife, I saw the humiliation and the suffering she went through, and these people have done nothing wrong.
“You are alive but it’s as if you’re in your own world. It not only drags the person down who is suffering from it, but those around them as well. The money we’ve raised goes directly to finding a cure and this was my way of raising awareness.”
When his wife died, Bert set himself the goal of raising £100,000, a target he achieved in 2010. He then immediately set himself the aim of taking the total to £150,000 – and now has the certificate to prove it. Bert achieved his goal by selling pieces of his extensive glassware collection, with each piece accompanied by a signed photo of himself and England’s World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks.
Former Wolves keeper Matt Murray also donated £10,000 from his testimonial fund to Bert’s bid.
Alzheimer’s Society regional fundraiser Ray Nash recognised Bert’s achievement.
He said: “It’s great working with Bert – we get companies that raise that kind of money but as an individual to help the fight against dementia is fantastic.”
Anyone interested in donating can still do so online at www.justgiving.com/Bert-Williams150000challenge or www.justgiving.com/Tim-Nash1