The woman who inspired The Beatles' song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is seriously ill, according to John Lennon's son Julian.
For years it was thought the song was an ode to hallucinogenic drug LSD, but it was later revealed that Lucy O'Donnell, a nursery classmate of Julian's, was the muse.
As the story goes, one day Lennon was picking Julian up from nursery when his son showed him a picture he had drawn of a girl surrounded by starlike shapes.
But according to Julian, Lucy, now 46 and Mrs Vodden after marriage, is suffering from the chronic auto-immune disease where the body's defence system begins to attack itself, causing damage in joints and organs.
Speaking ahead of a new exhibition of John Lennon memorabilia, Julian said: "I've been able to help out a bit. I was so upset to hear what had happened."
Julian sent her flowers to her home in Surbiton, Surrey, as well as garden centre gift vouchers when he learnt she found peace in tending to plants.
Mrs Vodden, who has only seen Julian once since their childhood, 23 years ago at one of his concerts, said: "It was lovely of Julian".
Since Lennon was murdered in 1980, Julian, who has had his own successful musical career, has spent £1 million buying up a collection of his father's possessions.
Although he has previously spoken of the anger her felt about the breakdown of their relationship, Julian, 46, says "there is nothing but love now."
He and his mother Cynthia will appear together at a ceremony later this month when he will lend his collection to the Beatles museum in Liverpool.
The collection includes hand-written recording notes by Sir Paul McCartney of Hey Jude, originally written as Hey Jules to console then five-year-old Julian during his parents' divorce. The whereabouts of Julian's drawing of Mrs Vodden is unknown, although it is thought it could be worth at least £250,000.
By Chris Irvine
© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2009
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