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Singer Rose-Marie on stage

Singer Rose-Marie on stage

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Anyone who has spent any time involved in the Fylde coast entertainment scene will know the name Rose-Marie.

It’s fair to say the lady from Northern Ireland, who has adopted Blackpool as her hometown, has done pretty well for herself over the course of a career that stretches back decades.

At the last count, she had sold more than 15 million records, all 20 of her album releases going to gold or platinum status, and there’s a new album ready for release.

She’s still performing her live shows regularly, and is next in action at Lowther Pavilion in Lytham on Friday for a St Patrick’s Night celebration.

It could have been very different though. Her parents wanted their daughter to get a proper job and encouraged her to try hairdressing. After accidentally cutting off a chunk of a woman’s ear, Rose-Marie wisely decided it might not be the job for her - or her customers - and opted to sing instead.

She left Northern Ireland and headed to London, only to find the streets weren’t paved with gold.

But she grafted, honed her act in Working Men’s clubs up and down the country, and moved to Blackpool to join the ranks of other singers hoping to be discovered.

Her big break came with an appearance before 15 million viewers on ITV’s Search for a Star, then she went on to become a household name on the hugely popular Lenny Bennett Saturday night gameshow Punchlines.

She’s been a bona fide star ever since, though remains as enthusiastic now about what she does as she was 40 years ago.

“The people of Lytham had better brace themselves for my show because it is going to be a cracker,” she laughed (she laughs a lot - it’s part of her charm).

“I’m one of those artists that loves to engage their audiences and get a big singalong going.

“I like to have a laugh and a joke and my shows are very family orientated.

“People might say it is old fashioned but that is what I do. I love people and I love to move them. When I sing a sad song some of the audience can be in tears but then the next minute I’ll tell a joke and we’ll all be laughing.

“I adore what I do and I think that comes across in my performances and that’s why people like coming to see me.”

Rose-Marie is particularly looking forward to this show because it’s been a while since she was last in these parts.

She has just returned from five years in America, where she took acting lessons - a part of her career that she wants to build on.

“I’ve done Blood Brothers (she played Mrs Johnson) and the Eva Cassidy musical but there is more acting I want to do,” she said.

“America was nice, I was in Vegas and LA, and I hung out with Dolly Parton and John Travolta, but my father passed away, so did my great friend Frank Carson, and I just wanted to get back to Blackpool. I was missing it.

“I’ve so many good friends here, people like Roy Walker and Bobby Ball, and it’s a place I have always loved and which means a great deal to me.

“It is where it all started to me and it’s good to be back.”

Rose-Marie is an individual who is hard not to like - funny, full of life, and doesn’t take herself too seriously.

It’s what makes her so appealing to audiences and she will no doubt draw in another big crowd in Lytham for what is something of a homecoming gig.

Tickets for Friday’s show at the Lowther are £20 (£18 concessions) and are available from www.lowtherpavilion.co.uk/ or the box office on 01253 794 221.