September 5, 2016
Teignbridge-based youth arts charity, The Helen Foundation, recently benefited from an auction of a guitar signed by all three members of international rock band MUSE, who are among the charity’s Patrons. The band presented the charity with the unique Manson tour specification guitar that is unavailable to the public in any format – only to lead singer-songwriter Matt Bellamy himself.
The guitar was extensively used for the band’s recently-completed Drones world tour. At the sold-out show at The 02 arena in London on Friday 15 April 2016, Bellamy used the guitar during the song ‘Reapers’ before spinning it high into the air. Video footage was captured by fans and uploaded onto YouTube showing the moment when it then crashed onto the stage, splitting the body, adding to its special history and value. View YouTube video
The silent auction was managed by Adrian Ashton, a director of Manson Guitar Works, which made the exclusive guitar for Bellamy. When the closing date was reached, the highest bid of €60,000 was revealed to be from Christina, an artist from southern Europe, who is an avid MUSE fan.
Christina wrote to the Trustees of the Foundation:
“I am very, very happy and excited that I won the auction and of course I am very happy that the money will go on a good cause and for your good work that I am wishing many successes. I also want to thank The Helen Foundation, my favourite group MUSE and Adrian Ashton of Manson Guitar Works for the joy and the opportunity given to me to have this guitar.”
Trustee Alex Kirk, who was at The 02 arena show when Bellamy used the guitar, said:
“The Helen Foundation Trustees are overwhelmed by the donation of this unique guitar to the charity and the interest the auction received. MUSE have been such staunch supporters of the Foundation since its creation in 2006 and the successful auction is one of the highlights of our special 10th anniversary year. Funds raised by the auction will now help us establish a small endowment for the charity. This will assist in securing the future of The Helen Foundation as it enters its second decade, in a climate of increasing hardship for small charities. We thank very warmly indeed the members of MUSE (Matt Bellamy, Dominic Howard and Chris Wolstenholme), all those who generously bid for the guitar, and especially Christina for her winning bid, and to Adrian Ashton and Manson Guitar Works who made the auction possible.”
The charity was formed in early 2006, following the tragic death of 24 year old Helen Kirk in a road accident. Since then the Foundation has raised and spent over £250,000 and has benefited many thousands of young people across Teignbridge through arts-based school workshops, special projects, individual bursaries and Helen Foundation ‘Best Endeavours in the Arts’ awards in schools. Most of the charity’s income over the past 10 years has come from local fund-raising with occasional special events like this guitar auction. The Foundation is run entirely by volunteers from people’s homes, so with no salary or property costs, it is able to maximise its income to benefit young people’s aspirations in the arts. In September, the nearly 60 state-funded schools across Teignbridge will each receive the charity’s annual offer of financial support for their arts activities as the school year gets underway.