Music

The Liverpool City Hospital record, which is dated 1911, bears the signature of a real life E Rigby, aged just 16. It will be auctioned for charity this month
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Paul sent it to an organisation providing music therapy for children with special needs, after having been approached by a fundraiser
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Eleanor Rigby document donated by Sir Paul to go under hammer

12 NOVEMBER 2008
When Paul McCartney received a request for a donation to help provide music therapy for children with special needs, his response astounded the fundraiser who had approached him. The former Beatle sent her a document bearing the signature of the real-life Eleanor Rigby - a 16-year-old hospital worker whose name became the title of the Beatles classic.

Dated November 30, 1911, the note shows the pay received by Liverpool City Hospital scullery maid E Rigby. It was given to Sunbeams Music Trust fundraiser Anne Mawson in 1990, nine months after she wrote an 11-page letter to the singer asking for help.

The record, which will be auctioned later this month, arrived in a brown envelope bearing the 'Paul McCartney World Tour' stamp but without any letter or explanation. "I opened it and inside was this beautiful, ancient document," says Anne, who's hung onto it waiting for the right time to sell. "It was spine-shivering really. Partly because he had responded in such a personal way."

The sale of the document which is expected to raise 500,000 for a new therapy centre has reopened debate among Beatles fans as to the identity of Eleanor Rigby. Very little is known about the inspiration behind the track, which was written by Paul, but debate sparked over whether it was based on a real person after, in the Eighties, a grave bearing the name Eleanor Rigby was found in a Liverpool cemetary where Paul and John Lennon once hung out together.


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