AN EX-THEATRE performer with Alzheimer’s from Swanage has been thanked for her work with gifts from New York’s Broadway.

Rosemary Ford, 74, began as a chorus member at Mowlem Theatre, Swanage, before progressing to lead roles.

She performed in local theatres for around 30 years, starring in shows such as The Railway Children, Carousel, and Stepping Out.

Bournemouth Echo: Rosemary Ford

Rosemary’s husband, Michael Ford, 74, said back in the day she would rehearse her lines while doing housework chores.

“She would learn her lines by ironing and then have a cassette tape with, let's say, your line, and then a gap for her line,” said Michael.

Bournemouth Echo: Rosemary and Michael Ford

Rosemary retired from her dream job in her 60s, and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2019 at 70 years old.

“Well, it was obviously a shock when Rosemary was diagnosed,” said Michael.

“And then you realise you haven't lost a leg, so you just got to get on with life.

“And that's what we've done. We've joined various groups and met a lot of interesting people involved in Alzheimer's.

“We’ve met a lot of people who give up their time.”

Despite her diagnosis, Rosemary still enjoys to remember her theatre days, by rewatching recordings of her previous performances.

“She has DVDs of all her previous performances so she watches them back.

"We've also got home movies from the past, we were avid home movie people, which we now transferred onto DVD.

“So that's good for Alzheimer's.”

Bournemouth Echo: Gifts from Broadway NY

To help with her memory, Rosemary’s daughter, Charlotte Ford, contacted Broadway in New York for a signed photo and instead received a whole box of gifts, with a personal letter.

Bournemouth Echo: Letter from Broadway NY

Rosemary received all kinds of merchandise from various shows including notebooks and pins from Wicked, Pretty Women and Six The Musical.

Charlotte said her mother ‘was over the moon’ and the whole family were grateful for the Broadway team's thoughtfulness.

The personalised letter read: “We hope you enjoy this little bit of Broadway swag from New York.

“Thank you for supporting the arts.”

Rosemary’s family also wanted to highlight the ‘amazing’ work of local charity, Carer Support Dorset, who have been supporting them through her diagnosis.