An internationally recognised Cornish surf shack has raised thousands for a dementia charity in a tribute to its founder.

The owners of Fat Willy's in Falmouth and St Ives met with a representative of the Alzheimer's Society today (July 16) to hand over a cheque of £5,250 following a fundraiser last week.

Fat Willys, which was founded by Roger Ward and is now run by his three sons, decided to donate its profits from Saturday July 10 to the Alzheimers Society in memory of Roger who passed away in July 2019.

Roger's sons Steve, Marc and Chris had taken over the running of the businesses in Falmouth, St Ives and Newquay and wanted to give back to and help those who find themselves in a similar situation of having to care for people they love with Alzheimer's.

Falmouth Packet: Steve and Marc Ward presenting the cheque to Claire Frost of the Alzheimer's Society.Steve and Marc Ward presenting the cheque to Claire Frost of the Alzheimer's Society.

Steve Ward, 50, who runs the Falmouth branch, told The Packet that it was the customers who had really made the fundraiser so special, with many popping along to donate having known the store was raising money.

Steve said: "We had one lady come in who said 'I saw what you're doing' and just dropped off £100, it's amazing.

Roger had been dealing with dementia for around a decade before he died, and his sons felt this was something positive they could do in his memory.

Steve continued: "It was a real shock.

"Dad was the first person in our family to have something like this.

"He was always a lovely person and would help anyone.

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"He had such a brain, always watching the business news and keeping up with it, and to watch that go was very strange.

"Unless you've experienced it, you're not really aware of it, and people give them a wide birth, but you don't need to.

"When you see what it does to people, and their families, Alzheimer's seems to be the one that no one talks about.

"And particularly with an ageing population there's only gong to be more and more cases of this."

Falmouth Packet: Inside Fat Willy's with its fundraising balloons, provided by the Alzheimer's Society. Inside Fat Willy's with its fundraising balloons, provided by the Alzheimer's Society.

With the success of its fundraiser this year, the Fat Willy's family is hoping that the event is something they'll be able to do on an annual basis.

"We're hoping to do this every year now, on July 10.

"We've always talked about it, so yeah we'll do it annually, it's the least we could do really.

Claire Frost, Alzheimer’s Society Community Fundraiser said: “We are incredibly grateful to the team at Fat Willy’s.

"Their fantastic support in raising more than £5,000 at this wonderful event was a touching tribute to Roger.

"We’d like to say a huge thank you, not only to Roger’s family, but to all those who supported Alzheimer’s Society on the day itself.

“People with dementia have been worst hit by coronavirus, with thousands dying and many more rapidly deteriorating, from both the virus and knock-on effect of lockdown.

“Like all charities, our income has taken a huge blow due to the pandemic, while demand for our vital dementia support services has sky-rocketed.

"Without the generosity of supporters like the team at Fat Willy’s we simply cannot keep up.

"Their donation will make a big difference to lives of people affected by dementia and their families who have never needed us more.”

The Ward brothers also wanted to thank those customers who had donated by saying: "It's so fantastic, what they've done, it's so appreciated.

"A massive thank you to everyone who has supported us, we have amazing customers."

Roger, known as Rog, was quite a character when he first started the business, and would put Fat Willy's stickers on the signs along the A30 whenever he found himself stuck there.

As such, Steve and his brothers made sure that he was buried with a few of those stickers in his coffin, just in case...

If you'd like to find out more about the Alzheimer's Society, visit: