Staff, governors and classmates have joined the chorus of congratulations for Cheshire East’s ‘Over the Rainbow’ winner Danielle Hope.
Millions tuned into the TV talent search on Saturday night to see the Knutsford High School student beat her two rivals to the coveted role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.
The school community has supported Danielle every step of the way during her four-month journey – and perhaps no-one more so than drama teacher Helen Mayne.
Ms Mayne, who has taught the 18-year-old for the past seven years, travelled to London each Saturday to cheer on her student from the live studio audience.
During filming for the BBC show Danielle publicly thanked Ms Mayne for supporting her dreams of becoming a performer.
“Everybody at Knutsford High School is incredibly proud of everything Danielle has achieved,” said Ms Mayne.
“To be the person considered by the public and Andrew Lloyd Webber to be the best out of 9,000 contenders for the lead in a West End production is a monumental feat.
“Having worked with Danielle since Year 7, I have never had any doubt that she had the necessary drive, talent and perseverance.
“Throughout her time with us she has proved herself to be the kind of performer who will give 100 percent every time she steps out on stage.
“It has been a rollercoaster four months but there was never any question that Danielle deserved to win.
“I am hugely excited for the show’s opening next year and will be in the audience to watch Danielle fulfil her dream.”
Cheshire East Councillor George Walton, a Knutsford High School governor, said: “Danielle is a delightful ambassador for the school and a credit to the performing arts department, who do a wonderful job of nurturing the many talented students who pass through the school.
“Despite having rather a lot on her plate at the moment, Danielle remains committed to her studies and is returning to school in June to sit her theatre exams.
“We are all looking forward to seeing her again and passing on our best wishes.
“I will be following her career with interest – she is clearly destined for great things.”
Councillor Hilda Gaddum, Cabinet member with responsibility for children and families, said: “On behalf of Cheshire East Council, I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to Danielle.
“She is an enormously talented young lady with a bright future ahead of her.
“It is extremely heartening to see that, despite having won the most coveted West End role of the moment, Danielle is returning to school to complete her exams.
“She clearly appreciates the importance of education and I applaud her for setting such a marvellous example to young people.
“I wish Danielle all the very best in her exams and her performing career.”