Lost ‘£20,000’ charity guitar signed by the stars is found – 10 years on!

A classic electric guitar signed by rock legends and missing for 10 years has been returned to its original owner – and will be sold to benefit hospice youngsters.

The Fender Stratocaster – said to be valued in excess of £20,000 – was originally acquired by Midlands music promoter David Allen, who approached his contacts in the business to sign the guitar, including rock icons Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Mark Knopfler, Bill Wyman, the late Gary Moore, Pete Townsend and Brian May, who all duly agreed. 

The idea was to auction the precious instrument to raise funds for Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People, based in Loughborough.

“During 2007 while operating music promoters Mad Hatter Concerts, I launched the Legends Signed Guitar Project to raise funds for Rainbows Hospice, which supports youngsters with life-limiting conditions across the East Midlands,” David explains.

Mat Hankins of MH Music in Market Harborough donated the Fender and David began to approach his contacts to sign the guitar, intending then to auction the instrument.

“We aimed high, as we wanted to raise essential funds for this very worthwhile charity, but also the profile of Rainbows as a whole,” he added.
He was delighted by the generosity of a clutch of rock icons, happy to support the initiative.

Then disaster struck, while in transit with a national carrier back to David’s Leicestershire home after being signed by Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler the guitar vanished. It never arrived. And despite an extensive investigation, the guitar was never seen again.

That is until this month, more than 10 years on, when David received a call from the police to say that the guitar had been found. After being spotted for sale on an online auction site by an eagle-eyed guitar enthusiast, the police were notified and the missing guitar was finally recovered.

Says David: “I can’t believe we finally have the guitar back, after all these years. 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. They’ve been fantastic.”

He now aims to pick up the project from where he left off 10 years ago – and fill the guitar with more legendary names from the world of rock. “I am delighted to have it back… and in some ways my faith has been restored,” he says.

David, pictured, then intends to place the guitar with a major auction house that specialises in entertainment memorabilia – with all proceeds going to Rainbows hospice.

But he added: “Until then I’m not going to let the guitar out of my hands – and will take it personally wherever it needs to be!”

Spokesman for Rainbows, Nish Saujani, said: “It is an incredible story… and we are so grateful to David and the guitar icons who have kindly signed the guitar. The cash from its sale will help support youngsters and families across the East Midlands when they need it most.”