Lord and lady sainsbury smile at the camera

Remembering Lord Sainsbury

We were deeply saddened by the news that Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover passed away on 14 January 2022, aged 94. Lord Sainsbury was a former governor and immensely generous supporter of The Royal Ballet School.

A lifelong connection to ballet

Lord Sainsbury’s connection to ballet stems back to his mother, Doreen Adams, who was a student at The Royal Ballet School in the 1930s (when it was known as the Vic-Wells School). She created the role of a Daughter of Job in the original production of Ninette De Valois’ ground-breaking ballet Job (1931). This part was coincidentally later danced by Anya Linden, alumna and former Royal Ballet principal, who Lord Sainsbury married in 1963.

Remembering lord sainsbury

The image shows Ninette de Valois (standing centre) and Ursula Moreton (kneeling in dress) with students of the Vic-Wells School, just after it became resident at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in 1931. Doreen Adams is the student behind Moreton (second from right).

A generous supporter of the School

John and Anya Sainsbury founded the Linbury Trust together which has since granted more than £150m towards the arts and performing arts projects. Their generosity has been fundamental to the success of The Royal Ballet School, acting as lead donors on several major capital projects. First, relocating the Upper School to Covent Garden alongside The Royal Ballet. This was soon followed by a major refurbishment of White Lodge and more recently the purchase of a new student boarding house in central London. The impact of their philanthropy is beyond compare and the students of The Royal Ballet School will be forever grateful to them.

Honouring his life and work

In 1980 John Sainsbury was knighted and given life peerage in 1989. He was made a Knight of the Garter in 1992.

 Our thoughts are with Lady Sainsbury, our Governor Emerita, and all his family and friends at this sad time.

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