Pink Floyd star sells £4.5m house and gives money to help homeless

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The Independent Culture

He once said the amount of money he earned was so obscene, he woke up in the morning and wrote cheques to charity. Now Dave Gilmour, the guitarist with the legendary rock band Pink Floyd, is preparing to write the biggest cheque of all.

After selling his London home for a reported £4.5m, he intends to give the proceeds to Crisis, a charity that cares for the homeless.

"I don't need the money and I just thought it would be a good thing to do," he said in an interview publicising two forthcoming concerts at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

Gilmour, 56, whose main residence is a farmhouse in West Sussex, said of his decision to sell the spare property, which he bought for £300,000: "I've had that house for nearly 20 years. It's made a fat profit and I've scarcely used it for the last six or seven years. You can't live seriously in more than one house. Everything else is just a holiday home."

In keeping with his low profile off stage, Gilmour refused to elaborate on his benevolence yesterday. "He's a very private man and it's not something he wants to discuss. And it's the first day of rehearsals for the shows he's doing next week," a spokesman said.

The move is the latest in a series of generous acts. With a personal fortune estimated at £60m based on the never- ending sales of the Pink Floyd back catalogue and his own albums, Gilmour has lived well but also given plenty.

He is a regular at fund- raising events for causes ranging from cancer to Aids. And his own foundation, the DG Charitable Trust, has had a long-standing relationship with Crisis, which helps homeless people to rebuild their lives.

A spokeswoman for Crisis yesterday said the charity was still awaiting final confirmation of the gift, but confirmed it had been in talks with Gilmour.

"All we can say at the moment is that the DG Charitable Trust has supported Crisis for a long time. He gives every year at Christmas and is a very generous donor. He's passionate about homeless and we had put ideas to the trust for new donations," she said.

In the world of rock where excess is de rigueur, Gilmour has done his bit to live up to the image. He owns a home in Greece and a share of a yacht in the Mediterranean. He once paid £90,000 for a garage for one of his collection of Ferraris.

But in a rare interview he gave to The Sunday Telegraph he revealed a desire for a simpler life with his second wife, Polly, and their three young children.

"You collect Ferraris and then you've got to collect buildings to house the Ferraris, and then you need more people to look after the people who are looking after things. Life gets very complicated. And eventually, at least in my case, you think, 'I don't need this stuff.' And suddenly life gets simpler."

Gilmour grew up in Cambridge with Roger Waters and Syd Barrett, original members of Pink Floyd. When Barrett suffered a drug-induced breakdown from which he never recovered, Gilmour was given his place. That was in 1968 and the band has remained phenomenally popular.

Albums such as Dark Side of the Moon continue to sell millions nearly 30 years after being first released and, even now, there are new compilations. Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd has just been issued.

The band last toured in 1994, but recently Gilmour has turned his back on stadium rock in favour of more low-key appearances. His own gigs on the 17 and 18 January see him return to the Royal Festival Hall where he performed last year as part of the South Bank Centre's festival known as Meltdown.

Gilmour sold the house last year to Earl Spencer, 37, owner of the historic property Althorp House in Northamptonshire. He was expected to move in after his wedding last month to Caroline Freud, 34, whom he knew from student days at Oxford University.

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