Blair to give autobiography proceeds to veterans' charity

16th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

Former British prime minister Tony Blair will give all the proceeds of his forthcoming autobiography to a charity that helps war veterans, his office announced Monday.

The book, entitled "A Journey", will be published on September 1 and, as Blair's first personal account of his decade in power during which Britain invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, it is expected to become a bestseller.

All the proceeds will be given to a project funded by veterans' charity the Royal British Legion that provides rehabilitation services for seriously injured members of the armed forces, a spokesman for Blair said.

Blair, who was prime minister from 1997 to 2007, will hand over the reported 4.6-million-pound (5.6-million-euro, 7.2-million-dollar) advance he received for the book as well as any royalties.

"Tony Blair decided on leaving office that he would donate the proceeds of his memoirs to a charity for the armed forces as a way of marking the enormous sacrifice they make for the security of our people and the world," the spokesman said.

"The Royal British Legion is just such a cause.

"In making this decision, Tony Blair recognises the courage and sacrifice the armed forces demonstrate day in, day out.

"As prime minister he witnessed that for himself in Iraq, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone and Kosovo. This is his way of honouring their courage and sacrifice."

The charity has set a target of raising 12 million pounds for a project to help injured soldiers back to health by using sport and outdoor activities.

Royal British Legion director general Chris Simpkins said Blair's donation was "very generous" and it was "much appreciated and will help us to make a real and lasting difference to the lives of hundreds of injured personnel."

© 2010 AFP

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