Wednesday 16 January 2019

Bob Geldof donates Band Aid archive to Irish state

Hundreds of letters from well-known public figures are among the trove of memorabilia.

Sir Bob Geldof (Brian Lawless/PA)
Sir Bob Geldof (Brian Lawless/PA)

By Michael McHugh, Press Association

Musician and campaigner Bob Geldof has donated a vast archive of material from the Band Aid Africa famine relief effort to the Irish state.

Hundreds of letters from private individuals and well-known public figures, artwork, poetry and musical recordings are among the trove of memorabilia from the 1984 fundraiser given to the National Library of Ireland in Dublin.

Geldof and co-writer Midge Ure’s first version of Do They Know It’s Christmas? raised £8 million for famine relief in Ethiopia.

Sir Bob Geldof at the National Library of Ireland (NLI) in Dublin with Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan and library director Dr Sandra Collins, as he announced that the Band Aid Trust is donating its archive (Brian Lawless/PA)

They gathered a group of musicians together in 1984 for the charity single. It featured Geldof’s fellow Irishman Bono, George Michael, Duran Duran and Bananarama, among others.

It helped inspire Live Aid concerts in London and Philadelphia, which raised millions more.

Geldof said: “This then is our thanks and gratitude to Ireland and the Irish.

“We want you to use this gift for the benefit of those in whose name we too will continue to work.”

Do They Know It’s Christmas? was recorded again in 1989, 2004 and 2014, with the most recent incarnation used to fight the Ebola disease outbreak in west Africa.

The archive will be transported from London where it had been in storage. It will be catalogued, preserved, selectively digitalised and exhibited.

It reveals the enormous level of organisation behind Band Aid in which the aid was distributed.

Geldof added: “Eight miles between the richest continent and the poorest (Europe and Africa) … there were 30 million people dying in a world of surplus. That was morally repulsive.”

Press Association

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