The story behind the Flying Fox, which is proudly displayed above the Royal Alexandra Hospital, is widely known among Rhyl folk. However, it is worth re-telling for those who haven’t heard about the way that some of the funds were raised for the building of the Royal Alexandra Hospital .
The estimated cost of the hospital was £60,000 and all the money was to be raised by public subscription. In 1898, Hugh Grosvenor, the 1st Duke of Westminster sponsored an appeal and headed the building fund with a donation of £5,000. The Duke was a generous and interested benefactor of the Childrens’ Hospital and had been its President since 1878.
The Duke of Westminster had a major interest in horse racing. In 1899 he wrote a letter to the matron of the hospital promising a further cheque for £10,000, from his winnings, if his famous horse “Flying Fox” won his next race at Sandown Park.
Flying Fox did just that and a telegram was dispatched to the matron which read “The ten shall be sent”. When the hospital was completed a weather vane was placed on the top depicting a fox in full flight, to commemorate the victory.
Unfortunately the Duke did not see the completed hospital, to which he devoted much time and thought, as he died at the end of 1899.
Flying Fox (1896–1911) was a British thoroughbred racehorse who won the 1899 English Triple Crown Races and was the leading sire in France three times. He died at Haras de Jardy, France, on March 21st, 1911, aged 15. His skeleton is at the Horse Museum at the Chateau de Saumur, with a memorial at the Eaton Stud, Cheshire.
See History Points for more information.
References: “The Story of the Royal Alexandra Hospital”, Mrs Barbara Parry. Wikipedia.