Billionaires pledge £260,000,000 to help rebuild Notre Dame after fire

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French president Emmanuel Macron has vowed to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral after a fire ravaged the historic landmark – and fundraising has already begun.

French billionaires the Pinault family have reportedly pledged more than €100 million (£86 million) to restore the 800-year-old cathedral, whose spire collapsed amid the flames.

Francois-Henri Pinault, who is married to actress Salma Hayek, is quoted in the French media as saying he and his father, Francois, had decided to donate the money to help with the ‘complete reconstruction’ of Notre Dame.

An international fundraising appeal has been launched to help rebuild the Notre Dame (Picture: EPA)
BGUK_1550709 - ** RIGHTS: ONLY UNITED KINGDOM ** Paris, FRANCE - General Views of the Notre-Dame Cathedral fire. A fire erupted at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, destroying the roof and its iconic spire. A fire broke out on Monday afternoon and quickly spread across the building, collapsing the spire. The cause is yet unknown but officials said it was possibly linked to ongoing renovation work. Pictured: Notre-Dame Cathedral fire BACKGRID UK 15 APRIL 2019 BYLINE MUST READ: BEST IMAGE / BACKGRID UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*
It is hoped that the majority of the 800-year-old structure can be saved (Picture: Backgrid)
A huge fundraising effort is underway to restore the cathedral to its former glory (Picture: EPA)
Firefighters (L and R) work to extinguish a fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris early on April 16, 2019. - A huge fire that devastated Notre-Dame Cathedral is
Pictures this morning show the main structure is still standing following the devastating fire (Picture: AFP)
Smoke rises around the alter in front of the cross inside the Notre Dame Cathedral as a fire continues to burn in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Pool
Pinault pledged £86,000,000 towards the restoration of the cathedral (Picture: Reuters)

The younger Mr Pinault is chief executive of international luxury group Kering, which owns brands such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, and is the president of French holding company Groupe Artemis, which owns the Christie’s auction house.

Meanwhile, France’s Fondation du Patrimoine, a private organisation which works to protect French heritage, said it would be starting an international appeal.

It tweeted: ‘For our Lady to be reborn from her ashes we are launching an international appeal. All donations received will be paid in full to the restoration site.’

Mr Macron said he would be looking ‘beyond our borders’ as the fundraising campaign got under way.

A picture shows the moment that the steeple collapsed yesterday evening (Picture: AFP)
Thousands of Parisians gathered outside the cathedral yesterday afternoon (Picture: Getty)
France’s Fondation du Patrimoine, a private organisation which works to protect French heritage, said it would be starting an international appeal (Picture: MegaPress)

In an emotional speech on Monday night, he said: ‘I am solemnly telling you tonight: this cathedral will be rebuilt by all of us together.’

Describing Notre Dame as ‘our history’ and ‘the epicentre of our lives’, he added: ‘It’s probably part of France’s destiny and it will be our project for the years to come.’

Across the pond, the US-based French Heritage Society said it would be establishing a restoration fund, while several appeals have already been set up on crowdfunding sites such as Go Fund Me and Just Giving.

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