‘Love Doris Day’: Fan with dementia receives letter from late icon

Activities coordinator, Gareth Harding, left, with Roy Oldman and his signed picture from Doris Day.

Activities coordinator, Gareth Harding, left, with Roy Oldman and his signed picture from Doris Day. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

Tributes for the honey-voiced Hollywood star Doris Day flooded social media with young and old fans remembering the actress and singer as an icon.

Roy Oldman's signed picture from Doris Day, Lowestoft. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Roy Oldman's signed picture from Doris Day, Lowestoft. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

But for Roy Oldman, of Lowestoft, Doris Day will always be the "love of his life" and he now cherishes a signed black and white photograph of the star, which was delivered to his care home just days before she died.

The 89-year-old resident of Harleston House care home in Lowestoft has loved the 1950s film star since the first time he saw her.

Despite deteriorating health and worsening dementia, he sings Black Hills of Dakota flawlessly and simply states "how could you not" fall in love with the "beautiful" Calamity Jane star.

Printed photographs of Day are perfectly positioned across from his bed and his record player is constantly fixed with one of her records.

A photograph of Doris Day hanging in Roy Oldman's bedroom, Lowestoft. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

A photograph of Doris Day hanging in Roy Oldman's bedroom, Lowestoft. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant


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Two months ago, Gareth Harding who is activities coordinator at the care home sparked a conversation with Mr Oldman about the Hollywood legend.

The pair bonded over old clips of the glamorous blonde, would get lost in the collection of records and sing Que Sera Sera. At this point, Mr Oldman said he hoped to meet her.

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Mr Harding said: "After I had that conversation with Roy, that he wanted to meet Doris Day I thought I would try and send her a letter."

After thorough research, the 40-year-old found the address of her Carmel Valley home in California and detailed how her music makes him feel.

Roy Oldman's signed picture from Doris Day, Lowestoft. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Roy Oldman's signed picture from Doris Day, Lowestoft. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

On May 5, the signed photograph of her came in the mail which read: "Dear Roy, Love Doris Day". Nine days later, she died.

Mr Harding said: "I just couldn't believe it - just a week ago she was signing the photograph.

"It was a bit of a shock - that could be the last autograph she would have done," he added, "We were amazed and shocked she passed away."

The signed picture, envelope and letter are now framed and sit at Mr Oldman's bedside and he is transfixed by it.

"I must have made an impression on her that night," he said as he read the letter.

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