McCartney pays £1.6m to charity for snubbing gala

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The Independent Online

Paul McCartney has agreed to make a donation to a landmine charity after pulling out of a fundraising gala that he was due to host with Heather Mills in October.

The event for Adopt-A-Minefield, in Los Angeles, which has been hosted by the couple since 2001, has subsequently been cancelled due to McCartney's impending divorce.

Last year, it raised more than $1.5m (£794,000), with tables at the Beverly Hilton Hotel costing up to £13,200.

The UK wing of the charity said a donation by McCartney had not yet been made and that no figure had been discussed, but it he is reportedly expected to give around $3m to the charity, which has both McCartney and Mills as patrons.

Keith Kelly, director of Adopt-A-Landmine UK, said although the former Beatle was under no formal obligation to make a donation, there was an understanding that he would make one in the future.

"There is no obligation for Paul to make up the shortfall, but he remains patron and is passionate about the landmine issue. He hasn't as yet paid a cheque. Until something arrives, you don't know what it's going to be and what amount it is.

"But Heather and Paul remain patrons of the Adopt-A-Minefield campaign. They have developed the LA gala, our most successful fundraising event, and as it is an event they both hosted, given their separation, Paul doesn't feel he can perform this year," he said.

Mr Kelly said in the absence of the McCartneys, the event had not been able to secure another high profile host so had had to be cancelled.

McCartney, 64, and Mills, 38, announced their separation in May and have begun divorce proceedings in an increasingly acrimonious split. They married in 2002 and have a two-year-old daughter, Beatrice.

Shortly after the split was announced, Paul McCartney said in a statement:"While I continue to be committed to Adopt-A-Minefield and its critical mission, given the current circumstances, I will not be able to attend the gala this year.

"I have every confidence that they will put on another great event and raise significant funds for the campaign's continuing work."

His cancellation will inevitably raise the question of whether another gala event will take place with McCartney as its host. Mr Kelly said he could not confirm whether the event - which is the biggest fundraiser of the year - would go ahead next year but added that alternative ways of fundraising could be negotiated.

"There are plenty of other ways of raising money. I was just talking to Heather yesterday about new ways of doing just that," he said.

Adopt-A-Minefield attempts to resolve landmine crises issues around the world and raises money to improve the lives of landmine survivors. The charity has raised more than $17m (£9m) so far and cleared over 21 million square feet of land.

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