Belfast Telegraph

Belfast man Brian Bennett's prized guitar collection raises £15k for NI Hospice

By Claire Williamson

More than £15,000 has been raised for the NI Hospice thanks to a guitar hero from Belfast who donated 19 Fender Stratocasters, signed by some of the biggest names in rock, to be auctioned off.

Brian Bennett's collection went under the hammer at a special sale at Wilson's Auctions last night.

The 63-year-old donated his personal collection of guitars in honour of his late mother Nora, who was a dedicated volunteer at the charity.

A number of the guitars are autographed by stars such as Rolling Stone Bill Wyman, Motley Crue's Vince Neil, Guns 'n' Roses axeman Slash, Cream's Jack Bruce and Def Leppard's Belfast-born guitarist Vivian Campbell.

The NI Hospice hailed the total amount of £15,950 raised as "amazing" and said all 19 of the guitars were sold.

Among the highest sellers of the night was a Fender signed by Slash from Guns 'n' Roses which sold for £2,500. Another of the most desirable in the collection was the 2002 US Custom Shop-made seafoam green Strat - which boasts signatures from Bad Company and Free drummer Simon Kirke, fellow Bad Company member Mick Ralphs and Cream's Jack Bruce.

It sold for an impressive £1,300.

Another was a 1977 US-made maple-wood Strat signed by Jamie Moses, the respected session guitarist best-known for his work with Queen, Amy Winehouse, Bob Geldof and Mike and the Mechanics which went for £1,100.

A guitar signed by Roger Daltry of The Who went for £1,400.

Speaking previously, Brian said the hospice had always been his family's charity.

He said: "I was able to amass the collection over a number of years thanks to musicians and music shops in Northern Ireland, and I would get signatures from Rock Camps I attended in London, at the Abbey Road studios, and at the House of Blues in Las Vegas.

"I've had the pleasure of jamming with some of the world's most famous musicians and I am glad I was able to get guitars signed by them.

"Hopefully this will benefit Northern Ireland Hospice.

"It was always my intention to collect as many Fender Stratocasters as possible to one day donate to the hospice in honour of my mother."

NI Hospice chief Heather Weir said Brian's donation was a "great compliment to Nora Bennett's legacy and her support of the Northern Ireland Hospice, and a wonderful gesture".

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