The charitable side of... The Rolling Stones

Indira Das-Gupta

Jagger and the boys pay taxes about as often as they gather moss, but at least they ask their fans to give generously.

The Rolling Stones are certainly not averse to doing their bit for charity. But given that they have earned more than £1.2bn since 1989, they can probably afford to.

With tickets going for £150 a pop, the group's A Bigger Bang world tour, which this week hits the UK, has already generated £79.7m. But through the use of offshore trusts and companies, Sir Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts paid only 1.6 per cent in tax last year.

Ronnie Wood (right), who has a £90m fortune, is said to have a different arrangement because he was not a founder member of the band. African conservation charity the Tusk Trust has enjoyed having Wood - who, the less charitable might say, has skin not unlike an elephant's - as a patron since it was founded in 1990.

Charlie Mayhew, chief executive at the trust, said: "I asked Ronnie because I knew he loved Africa and wildlife. He has been amazingly supportive over the years." Designs produced by Wood have generated about £70,000 for the charity, although this amounts to less than 0.1 per cent of Wood's estimated wealth.

During the US leg of the current tour, Stones fans were required to make a donation to one of 11 chosen charities, which included the National Children's Cancer Society. Those buying seats for $160 (£83) had to make an added donation of nearly half the ticket price.

The UK music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins is listed as one of the group's charitable interests in celebrity bible The Red Pages. But a spokeswoman for the charity said the band's contribution has been limited to donating items as prizes.

"I wouldn't describe them as particularly loyal or committed supporters," she confessed.

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