A classic Fender Stratocaster that went missing after being signed for charity by Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Jimmy Page and other guitar heroes has been found more than ten years later.
The Leicester Mercury reports that the guitar belonged to promoter David Allen, of Market Harborough in Leicestershire. In 2007, he had it signed by many major stars, also including Brian May, Pete Townshend, Bill Wyman and Gary Moore, with the intention of auctioning it for Rainbows, the hospice for children and young people. He had hoped to raise £20,000.
After Clapton signed the Stratocaster, it was due to be returned to Allen via courier company Parcelforce. But they were unable to find any trace of it, after which the company donated £17,000 to Rainbows as an apology for its disappearance. That remained a mystery until two weeks ago, when the guitar was spotted for sale online and the police were called in to investigate.
The Strat, it turned out, had been in a collection of items that were being sold in a house clearance after the death of the owner. The person who was trying to sell it, innocently unaware of its unusual history, had spent a mere £35 on it.
Now that the guitar has been reunited with the man who secured the remarkable collection of signatures in the first place, Allen will go ahead with his original plan to auction it for Rainbows, after adding some more famous names to it. “I can’t believe we finally have the guitar back after all these years,” he told the Leicester Mercury. “We never expected to see it again.
“A huge debt of gratitude goes out to those who notified us of the guitar’s whereabouts and to the police who acted so swiftly to ensure its safe return. I’m not going to let the guitar out of my hands, and will take it personally wherever it needs to be,” he added.
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