Paul McCartney repaid ‘debt’ over blanket years later, letter reveals

Kim Pilling, PAMon, 29 March 2021, 12:01 am

A letter in which Paul McCartney settled a long-standing “debt” from before he achieved worldwide fame with The Beatles is to be auctioned.

In 1958, McCartney and George Harrison went on a hitchhiking holiday and visited the seaside resort of Harlech, in Gwynedd, North Wales, known for its castle and the song Men Of Harlech.

They knocked on the door of a farmhouse belonging to the Brierley family and were allowed to pitch their tent in the field at the rear of their bungalow.

After a downpour on their first night, the pair sought refuge in the farmhouse and ended up staying the week.

Letter from Paul McCartney to Irene Brierley
Letter from Paul McCartney to Irene Brierley to repay blanket ‘debt’ (Tracks Ltd/PA)

McCartney and Harrison became friendly with the young John Brierley, a musician himself, and later sat in with his local skiffle group The Vikings during a performance at the Queen’s Hotel pub in the village.

Mr Brierley also recalled several days of playing snooker and playing Elvis Presley’s first LP, Rock ‘N’ Roll, as well as McCartney banging away on the family piano trying to work out the solo in the middle of the Buddy Holly song Think It Over.

The pair enjoyed themselves so much they returned to the Brierleys’ home the following year and later made off with one of the family’s blankets.

That stuck in the memory of Mr Brierley’s mother, Irene, long after Beatlemania swept the globe and years later in the 1980s she wrote to McCartney to jokingly remind him she was still a blanket short.

The Beatles
Beatles John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and George Harrison as they boarded a plane in London in 1966 (PA)

McCartney responded graciously as he wrote back: “Dear Mrs Brierley (Irene), Your letter reached me eventually and I was sorry to hear about my ‘debt’.

“I remember well the fun we had in Harlech and hope the enclosed cheque will settle our money differences!

“Excuse the scrawl as I’m trying to write this on a bouncing express train!!

“I was very sorry to hear about your hubby – he was a very nice man. Please give my best to your boys.

“Kindest regards, Paul (McCartney).”

Mrs Brierley went on to cash the £30 cheque sent by the musician.

The letter has a starting price of £3,000 and is being auctioned at http://www.tracks.co.uk, which offers free valuations of all types of Beatles and music memorabilia.

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