British well-wishers plan to send piano to Suu Kyi

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LONDON, Nov 4 (Reuters) British well-wishers plan to send a piano to detained Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to replace her broken one, The Sunday Times reported.

Nobel peace prize winner Suu Kyi, who has spent years under house arrest, is an accomplished player but her piano is broken, partly through wear and tear and partly after she pumped the pedals too hard, the report said.

So a group of British women from the arts and entertainment world have raised the money for a new piano which they plan to deliver to Suu Kyi.

The gift is being organised by actress Maureen Lipman, a supporter of Suu Kyi who starred in ''The Pianist'', the Oscar-winning Roman Polanski film, it said.

Others involved are singer Annie Lennox, film producer Norma Heyman and arts fundraiser Joyce Hytner.

''It just seemed a good and nice idea,'' the newspaper quoted Lipman as saying.

The piano had been an enormous comfort to Suu Kyi as well as to local people who knew that if they heard her playing she was still alive, The Sunday Times said.

Suu Kyi loves to play Bach and Scarlatti.

The paper suggested that the piano could be flown to India or Singapore and then shipped to Yangon.

Lipman and some friends may accompany the piano and present it to Suu Kyi, The Sunday Times said, although it said they remained wary of whether Suu Kyi would accept the gift because of her modesty.

Spokesmen for Lipman and Lennox could not immediately be reached for comment.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party won a 1990 election by a landslide, only to be denied power by the military, which has ruled since a 1962 coup. She has spent 12 of the last 18 years in detention.

REUTERS ARB RAI1829

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