Lord makes £25m donation to museum
A Conservative peer has made a £25 million donation to the British Museum, it was revealed tonight.
The gift from Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover will help fund an extension to the London museum's exhibitions and ensure the preservation of rare artefacts.
A spokeswoman for the museum said the donation was "incredibly generous" and discussions had been ongoing for a "long period of time".
"This is an incredibly important project for the British Museum and has been planned for a long time," she said.
"This donation is a vital part of the project. It's been talked about and worked (on) for a long period of time.
"There's no doubt it's incredibly generous and it will benefit future generations."
The spokeswoman said donations from other private donors, plus a Government grant, were also being used to fund the project.
The gift from John Sainsbury, the former chairman of the supermarket chain, comes at a time when many cultural organisations are facing a funding squeeze amid financial cutbacks.
The Sunday Times reported Lord Sainsbury's gift was the biggest to the arts in Britain since philanthropist Sir Paul Getty pledged £50 million to the National Gallery and £40 million to the British Film Institute in 1985.