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Memories of a ballerina

Nov 21, 2017

An article recently appeared in the UK newspaper The Mail on Sunday that brought back memories for Michael Gerson.  It concerned at house in Marlow, Buckinghamshire called Amerden Bank that was owned by prima ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn.   

In the 1960s Michael’s company shipped Dame Margot from South Kensington to Panama City to be with her husband Dr Roberto Arias, a Panamanian Diplomat and Panamanian Ambassador to London.  But disaster befell the family. 

“When the move was in transit her husband was shot and paralysed and the only place that could offer him accommodation and the right treatment was Stoke Mandeville Hospital [in the UK],” explained Michael.  “So, we had to turn the move around and Roberto Arias came back to the UK.” 

But Michael explained that Dame Margot did not drive and so insisted on hitching a ride with the senior foreman, Jack Gunning, from London to Marlow.  “I was ‘having kittens’ while she was in the van (which of course she shouldn't have been under any circumstances) and I was wondering how long my career would last if God forbid there had been an accident and somebody - the Royal Ballet - had made a claim on us for a pair of legs valued at a minimum of ten million pounds.” 

Fortunately, furniture and ballerina arrived safely.  Dame Margot was still capable of the ‘high jump’ thereby saving Michael from getting it. 

Photo: The article in The Mail on Sunday. 


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