Dame Margot Fonteyn snowdrops gifted to the School
Last week the School was generously gifted several Dame Margot Fonteyn snowdrops which have now been planted in the grounds of White Lodge. Fonteyn is one of our most renowned alumni having been awarded the ultimate title a ballerina can receive, prima ballerina assoluta, by Queen Elizabeth II.
The snowdrops were gifted to the School by former horticultural lecturer and snowdrops enthusiast Mike Hirst. Hirst visited the Head Gardener of Northumberland’s Howick Hall in 1988 to select a number of unique-looking snowdrops from the Hall’s grounds. One particular variety was distinctive enough to warrant its own name.
Some of these snowdrops were given to Durham University at the time of Fonteyn’s death in 1991, which coincided with her tenure as Chancellor of Durham University. The university’s Estate Manager Peter Maudsley suggested the snowdrops be named after Fonteyn to commemorate her.
The snowdrops, now planted in the grounds of White Lodge, serve as a beautiful reminder of Fonteyn and her illustrious career with The Royal Ballet.