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Stars illustrate the value of real letter-writing

Actor Kate Winslet's is a sunlit beach. Michael Flatley, the Lord of the Dance, favours a spotlight and a crowded theatre while Bill Nighy, star of love actually, chooses gondolas in a pink sunset.

These celebrities' sketches are part of an initiative to raise money for the National Literacy Trust. More than 40 actors, writers, artists and sports stars have contributed illustrations for auction on the website eBay.

Each was provided with an envelope to illustrate, to highlight the importance of letter-writing in effective communication skills.

Tania Rhodes-Taylor, the trust's marketing manager, said: "You can't decorate a text message as you can an envelope. It gives scope to imprint your personality on the communication."

Author Jacqueline Wilson drew a sketch of herself, with arrows indicating "lots of jewellery" and "pointy boots".

"There's nothing quite like expressing yourself on a piece of paper," she said. "E-mails don't have that personal touch. They don't come through your front door. And you can't keep them, the way you can treasure letters."

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