Royal Ballet surprise for former prima ballerina, 91

Published
08/09/2017 by

A 91-year-old former prima ballerina from Hull has been presented with tickets to the Royal Ballet's first performance in the city for 30 years.

Maureen Leathley started dancing at the age of 10 and went on to tour the country before becoming an associate at the Royal Ballet School.

She and her carer, also a former dancer, were surprised with tickets to the production at Hull New Theatre.

They were given in recognition of her lifelong dedication to ballet.

The sell-out production, Opening the New, will be staged on 13 September and marks the Royal Ballet's first performance in Hull for 30 years. 

Ms Leathley, who still dances, said she was "gobsmacked" by the surprise, which was arranged by health bosses who run the Endike Community Centre where she goes.

"I've had a wonderful life and done so many wonderful things," she said.

"I was very lucky to have a mum who used to go out to work so she could pay for my classes."

Ms Leathley started dancing at Skins ballet school in Hull and went on to run her own dance school.

It was while she was dancing that she met Janet Green, a friend and now also her carer.

Ms Green, 80, said: "When I started dancing at the age of eight Maureen was one of the big girls and she was such a wonderful dancer.

"It's such an honour knowing her and to be friends with her."

Eileen Wright, the Endike centre manager, said watching the Royal Ballet production would take Ms Leathley back - although she "might be a bit critical".