Broken bones not stopping 92-year old's Gilbert and Sullivan performance in Harrogate

Princess Ida's brothers l to r..David Thomson 'Arac', David Twizell 'Scyntius' and Kimmo Eriksson 'Guron' from the Peak Opera Company performing Princess Ida at the 25th International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Harrogate
Princess Ida's brothers l to r..David Thomson 'Arac', David Twizell 'Scyntius' and Kimmo Eriksson 'Guron' from the Peak Opera Company performing Princess Ida at the 25th International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Harrogate
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Broken bones haven’t held back a  veteran singer from preparing to make his first-ever  appearance in a professional production on the stage at Harrogate’s renowned Gilbert and Sullivan Festival.

Gordon Ford, aged 92, had just recovered from a broken pelvis in May this year when he suffered a broken hip,falling in his home in Hamilton, New Zealand.

But only around six weeks later he flew to the UK with his daughter, Dr Karen Ford,in preparation for his role in The Yeoman of the Guard.

He will be the oldest person to perform in the history of the festival, according to organisers the last was 89, and the tenor singer said he was overwhelmed at the opportunity.

Gordon said: “The music of Gilbert and Sullivan is so important to me, there is no other music like it.

“ To sing it in Harrogate, with this big chorus, with all these melodies and parts which work together is a wonderful thing to be able to do.

“I remember when I bought a radiogram, the first disc I had was of the Mikado and I think that was in 1958. It is all a bit overwhelming to think I will be taking part myself.

“I have been to Harrogate once towards the end of the war but I actually can’t remember much about it.

“We will be making sure to explore more of it and the rest of Yorkshire while I am here.”

Speaking on how he felt in the build-up to his big performance he added: “This will be my first professional performance.

“I have never done anything with a full orchestra of musicians and I think I have been performing for around 40 years.

“I really am excited though,I am using a stick because I broke my leg but physically I am quite fit.

“Whether my voice at my age will have the stamina to last, I don’t know.

“But the organisers have kindly said they were happy for me to have this part.”

Although originally planning for a quiet visit his family have been left stunned at the reaction to Gordon’s travelling to Harrogate to perform, with other outlets including BBC Radio 4 contacting him for interviews.

Originally growing up near Reading, Gordon was unable to pursue his love of Gilbert and Sullivan and perform until he moved to New Zealand in the late 1960s, following the sale of his family’s motor business.

But, thanks to his daughter Karen, his first professional appearance was made possible after she happened upon the website for the festival and got in touch with organisers.

On the down side, to make matters worse, Gordon is still recovering after catching a cold in the build-up to rehearsals!