The personal possessions of so-called 'fifth BEATLE' STUART SUTCLIFFE are to auctioned off by his loving sister PAULINE.

Sutcliffe, the subject of the 1993 film BACKBEAT, was a founding member of the QUARRYMEN, who later became the Beatles, but quit in 1961 before they hit the big time to pursue a career in art. He died of a brain haemorrhage the same year at the age of 21, but was credited with giving the group its distinctive image.

Devoted Pauline has collected masses of memorabilia from his short life, with a large selection going under the hammer at BONHAM'S auction house in London on 29 July (03).

Among items for sale are his birth certificate, which is expected to fetch up to $12,800 (GBP8,000), and exam certificates from his time at the LIVERPOOL COLLEGE OF ART, where he met John Lennon.

Pauline says, "This sale confirms for me that I haven't spent 40 years of my life in vain. You see I always believed Stuart was not only the central force behind The Beatles, but also the member who most influenced their pubic image, making style statements that still reverberate throughout the world to this day.

"More importantly though, he was an artist who chose to put his affiliation with The Beatles to the side in order to pursue his first love - his art."

14/07/2003 02:51