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Ed Sheeran donates guitar prototype to a school in his hometown

"There is not another guitar like this"

By Tom Skinner

Ed Sheeran looks up in a white t-shirt in a press shot
'Shape of You' is one of six Sheeran tracks in Spotify's 'Billions Club'. (Photo: Atlantic Records)

Ed Sheeran has donated a guitar made for his new album ‘=’ to help a primary school in his hometown.

The ‘Bad Habits’ singer-songwriter created the signature model with Northern Ireland-based guitar maker George Lowden, who has worked with Sheeran for six years.

Sheeran donated the instrument to a charity raffle, which will help fund a new music pod and disabled access facilities at Sir Robert Hitcham’s CEVA School in Framlingham, Suffolk.

Reflecting the artwork for the star’s latest record, the prototype guitar boasts an etched butterfly symbol on its heel. A maple ‘=’ inlay is inset into the ebony fingerboard, with the album cover art included within the internal label. Sheeran will also personalise the guitar for the winner.

“There is not another guitar like this,” the musician explained (via BBC News). “This is the guitar that gets sent to me to check that all the other guitars are all right – it says prototype in it.

“To win this, it’s a £5 raffle which goes to charity. It’s going to build a music centre at a primary school near me, which I’m really excited about.”

Three-thousand final versions of the guitar have been made based on the prototype, which is crafted from walnut and spruce trees that have fallen naturally.

Sheeran has also donated three signed Ipswich Town Football Club 2021-2022 home shirts for three runners-up.

Sheeran recently released his festive collaborative single with Elton John, ‘Merry Christmas’. Proceeds from the track will be donated equally between the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation and The Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Last month Sheeran revealed that his next studio album was ready to go, explaining that he’d “basically made two records over the last four years”. He also discussed his plans to release “10 symbol records” overall.

Ed Sheeran will play a special one-off gig at St John at Hackney Church in London on Monday (December 13) in aid of the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation.

In a review of ‘=’, Rolling Stone UK noted the album’s “flashes of brilliance” but said that it ultimately “retread[s] the same ground, both sonically and lyrically, with middling results”.