Page last updated at 10:25 GMT, Friday, 28 November 2008

Eleanor Rigby paper fetches 115K

E Rigby document
The document dates back to 1911

A document which may have provided the inspiration for the Beatles hit Eleanor Rigby has sold at auction for 115,000.

The 97-year-old paper shows the pay received by scullery maid E Rigby, from Liverpool's City Hospital.

Sir Paul McCartney sent it to charity worker Annie Mawson when she asked him for money for the Sunbeams Music Trust - for children with special needs.

Miss Mawson believes it was the inspiration for the Beatles hit though Sir Paul says he made the character up.

The charity auction took place at London's Idea Generation Gallery on Thursday night.

Fictional character

According to Miss Mawson the document surfaced in 1990 when the former Beatle responded to her request for funding for the Cumbrian-based charity which provides music therapy for children with disabilities.

"I wrote... to Paul and asked him for 500,000," she said.

"But by the end of the letter I just said 'Look, I know you're a very caring person and I feel it's a privilege to share my story with you."

Nine months later an envelope, with McCartney's tour stamp, arrived containing the document.

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

But Sir Paul has always maintained that Eleanor Rigby was a fictional character.

"Eleanor Rigby is a totally fictitious character that I made up," he said.

"If someone wants to spend money buying a document to prove a fictitious character exists, that's fine with me."

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

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