Fab four find for Ipswich pair

PUBLISHED: 13:17 16 August 2001 | UPDATED: 10:26 03 March 2010

A BROTHER and sister who lost both of their parents to cancer may have been left a small fortune by their late father after finding the autographs of all four of the Beatles in their loft.

A BROTHER and sister who lost both of their parents to cancer may have been left a small fortune by their late father after finding the autographs of all four of the Beatles in their loft.

Lee Sadler, 21, and his sister Gemma, 16, lost their mum Glenda in 1995 to a brain tumour and dad John three years later to liver cancer. They were just 39 and 51 respectively.

Without a mother or father, Lee, who was just 18 at the time, took parental guardianship of his sister and went out to work - providing for both of them as they continued to live at the parents' house in Beaconsfield Road, Ipswich.

But now, just days after a pizza-stained serviette bearing three of the Beatles signatures was sold to an anonymous buyer in Australia for £18,000 - it seems that Lee and Gemma could be sitting on a gold mine.

Their father used to work at the Gaumont Theatre, now the Regent, and was likely to be working there when the Beatles appeared in 1963 and again in 1964.

"It all started last week when I went up in the loft because there was a bird up there," said Lee, who works at The Plumb Centre, in Whitehouse, Ipswich.

"I started to look through a few old things and then I picked up one of my dad's diaries. I got to the last page and then this card came out with the Beatle's signatures on it. I was just stunned."

Lee searched a little more in the loft and unearthed autographs of Count Basie, The Tremeloes and Eric Morecambe.

Gemma said: "I think there is probably more up there – it's just a case of looking. Dad really wanted to be on the stage himself but he suffered from epilepsy so it wasn't possible. But he would have been great."

Lee, a keen musician, wanted to go and study music production when he left school, but was forced to work to help raise Gemma. The Government paid him just £49 a week to help.

Their aunt Marian Holder - who is mum Glenda's sister - said that she hoped the autographs would prove not to be fake and that they could be sold to give Lee and Gemma a financial boost.

"Lee is used to things going wrong for him and is a level-headed boy so hasn't got his hopes up," she said. "I just hope that this works out for them, they really deserve it. Apart from the Beatles I don't really think Lee or Gemma had heard of any of the others," said Mrs Holder, who lives in Town Green, Stowmarket.

Other autographs include Ray Allen - famous for his ventriloquist act with dummy Lord Charles - and piano player Mrs Mills.

Auctioneers Christie's of London admitted that Beatles signatures - especially from 1964 to 1968 - are not worth as much as earlier dates, but are likely to be able to be sold for thousands of pounds.

The British record is thought to be £13,000 for a set of 1961 autographs when the fab four appeared at Talk of the Town in Hamburg, Germany, before they hit the big time.

The three autographs sold in Australia were missing drummer Ringo's signature as he had laryngitis during the tour of the country in 1964.


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