Page last updated at 17:27 GMT, Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Eleanor Rigby signature auctioned

Eleanor Rigby signature
The document dates back to 1911 from Liverpool City Hospital

A document with the signature of Eleanor Rigby, who inspired the Beatles' hit of the same name, is to be auctioned to raise money for charity.

The paper, dated 30 November 1911, shows the pay received by scullery maid E Rigby from Liverpool's City Hospital.

It surfaced in 1990 when Sir Paul McCartney sent it to Annie Mawson of Cumbrian-based Sunbeams Music Trust, when she asked for a 500,000 donation.

It will be auctioned at London's Idea Generation Gallery on 27 November.

The signature is expected to fetch 500,000.

Two guitars - one owned by Sir Cliff Richard and one from Sex Pistols' Glen Matlock - will also be auctioned at the same time.

Miss Mawson, founder and chief executive of the Greystoke-based charity which helps children with special needs, said she believed the document was the inspiration behind the song Eleanor Rigby.

Very little is known about the hit, except that a grave to Eleanor Rigby was found in the churchyard of St Peter's Church, Woolton, in the 1980s.

It was spine-shivering really
Anne Mawson, Sunbeam Music Trust

"I wrote a letter to Paul McCartney in 1989 on a pink paper asking for 500,000 to help provide music therapy to help children with disabilities," Miss Mawson said.

"I just wanted him to know how much joy his music had brought."

But nine months later the document arrived with the former Beatle's world tour stamp on.

Miss Mawson said: "I opened it and inside was this beautiful, ancient document.

"It was spine-shivering really. Partly because he had responded in such a personal way."

Miss Mawson had kept the document ever since.

The Sunbeam Music Trust was set up in 1992 to provide music therapy for children with special needs and disabilities, adults with Alzheimer's and people with dementia.

The funds generated from the auction will go toward the charity's new centre expected to be built near Penrith, Cumbria.

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