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Sir Paul McCartney has donated a very special piece of music memorabilia to a charity auction.

The 66-year-old former Beatle responded to an appeal from Annie Mawson, founder and chief executive of Sunbeams Music Trust, by sending her a signed document that could have been the inspiration for one of the Fab Four’s most well-known songs.

Eleanor Rigby was released on The Beatles’ 1966 album Revolver, and McCartney has donated a wage slip of a household maid named E. Rigby from Liverpool – dated 1911 – to an auction being organized by Mawson.

“I wrote a letter to Paul McCartney in 1989 on pink paper asking for half a million pounds to help provide music therapy to help children with disabilities,” said Mawson. “I also told him how his music had helped children at Roundhills Special School in Kendal, Cumbria, where I was a music teacher, before it closed. By the end of the letter I was getting quite emotional and I wrote that I didn’t want his money. I just wanted him to know how much joy his music has brought.”

Nine months later, she received a reply.

“I opened it and inside was this beautiful, ancient document,” she said. “It was spine-shivering really. Partly because he responded in such a personal way.”

Sunbeams Music Trust was established in 1992 to provide group music therapy for children with disabilities and special needs, as well as adults with Alzheimer’s. They also provide music therapy for those with dementia, stroke sufferers, and accident victims.

The artifact will be auctioned in London later this month, along with two guitars owned by Sir Cliff Richard and one played by the Sex Pistols’ Glen Matlock.

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