-Louise Harrison replied to Lorraine O’Malley’s letters from August 1964 until her death in 1970
-Mrs O’Malley also received signed pictures of Harrison with Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Ringo Starr
-She has now decided to put the 55 letters and images up for sale with Omega Auctions, based in Merseyside
A collection of letters that the mother of The Beatles’ George Harrison wrote to a superfan over a five-year period has emerged for sale.
Louise Harrison replied to Lorraine O’Malley’s letters from August 1964 until her death in 1970, sharing notable events in the band’s history, as well as news of her son’s marriage to Pattie Boyd.
Mrs O’Malley, who started writing as a star-struck 16-year-old, kept the correspondence – which also included signed photographs of Harrison and bandmates Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Ringo Starr – safely stored in a safety deposit box for the next 50 years.
She has now decided to put the 55 letters and images up for sale with Omega Auctions, based in Merseyside, with an estimate of £6,000.
The letters went back and forth, with Mrs Harrison even telling Mrs O’Malley to call her ‘mum’ and passing on her new address when she and her husband moved.
Mrs Harrison wrote about key events in the Beatles’ career – the tours, the premier of landmark album Help!, being awarded MBEs, the disastrous trip to Manilla in the Philippines and the changes to the ‘Butcher’ album cover sleeve, among others.
The final letter Lorraine received from Mrs Harrison was in November 1969, which she described as ‘disturbing’.
Her handwriting was shaky and not at all like her normal writing.
Mrs O’Malley wrote back straight away, concerned that Mrs Harrison was unwell.
In August 1970 she got a letter from Harold Harrison, George’s father, telling her that Louise had died in July after a year-long illness.
Mrs O’Malley, now 73, said: ‘Going back through this for the sale just confirmed to me what an incredibly lovely woman Louise Harrison was.
‘She was just so engaged with George’s fans and I wasn’t just a name to her, she remembered details and would ask me about things we had discussed.
‘As a 16-year-old of course I was convinced I was going to marry George and after he got married I wrote to her and said I was sad and didn’t know if I should write anymore and she said I will miss you if you stop.
‘And I just thought I enjoy doing this. As time went on and I got married myself our correspondence dwindled a bit but she even sent me a wedding card when I got married.
‘She wrote to about 200 girls, I can only imagine how time consuming that was, I don’t know if she wrote to others as frequently as me. She always knew what to say to the fans to indicate that George was involved.
‘I didn’t keep the letters with the intention of selling them, they just meant a lot to me.
‘My intention was to pass them on to my children at some point, they were interested in them but I don’t think they wanted the responsibility of knowing what to do with them.
‘I will split any proceeds from the sale between my son and daughter.’
Dan Hampson, from Omega Auctions, said: ‘What makes these letters interesting and special is they offer a different perspective and one that is not heard so often, from George Harrison’s mum rather than one of the Beatles themselves.
‘It shows how active she was with his fans. The fact she responded with such a personal touch and over such a long period shows how dedicated she was.
‘She recognised how important the Beatles were to these people. She had a relationship with a number of young fans, but not a great number, probably those that had been there from the start.
‘It’s hard to estimate something like these, I think they should be in a museum.
‘With Beatles memorabilia, we have seen and sold almost all of it but something like this, which is about what made them as a band, their relationship with fans, is definitely unique and important.’
The letters will be sold tomorrow.
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