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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 May 2007, 10:06 GMT 11:06 UK
10m pledged to Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House
The Floral Hall was restored in 1999 as part of a 214m redevelopment
The Royal Opera House is to receive a 10m donation from the foundation of late philanthropist Lord Hamlyn.

The Covent Garden venue's Floral Hall will be renamed the Paul Hamlyn Hall in honour of the publisher and arts patron, who died in 2001.

It is one of the largest donations ever received by the Royal Opera House.

The ROH changed the name of its atrium to the Floral Hall after philanthropist Alberto Vilar paid only a fraction of a 10m donation he pledged in 1999.

The iron and glass atrium centrepiece - which was named the Vilar Floral Hall - was renamed in September 2005.

Tony Hall
Generations to come will benefit from Paul's enjoyment of the Royal Opera House
Tony Hall, ROH chief executive

The Lord Hamlyn donation will be used to establish the Paul Hamlyn Education Fund within the ROH Endowment Fund, generating an annual income to support the company.

One of the new initiatives made possible through the education fund will be Voices of the Future, which will focus on teaching singing in schools.

There will also be free events in the Paul Hamlyn Hall - including Christmas and summer festivals, vocal workshops and concerts - as part of a plan to attract a wider audience to the venue during the day.

Royal Opera House chief executive Tony Hall said: "This is the most extraordinarily forward-thinking gift and one that ensures that generations to come will benefit from Paul's enjoyment of the Royal Opera House.

"The endowment also gives us the opportunity to plan ahead with certainty that funds are in place to realise some of the ambitions we have for our education and access activities.

"We are very grateful to the trustees of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation for making this possible and ensuring that Paul's legacy is kept alive."

'Pride and pleasure'

Jane Hamlyn, Lord Hamlyn's daughter and chair of the foundation, said: "Paul Hamlyn loved coming to the Royal Opera House.

"He particularly loved it when the auditorium was filled to the brim with people seeing the best ballet and opera for the first time.

"We are delighted that the gift of 10m to endow the Paul Hamlyn Education Fund will be used by the Royal Opera House to support its education and community activities.

"The dedication of the Paul Hamlyn Hall is a source of great pride and pleasure for the family and the Foundation."

Lord Hamlyn's philanthropic relationship with the Royal Opera House began in 1986 when his wife Helen created the idea of the Paul Hamlyn performances, allowing people who had never experienced opera or ballet to attend at cheaper prices.

More than 200,000 people have taken advantage of the scheme.

Lord Hamlyn loses cancer battle
03 Sep 01 |  UK News

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