A BIRKENHEAD record shop has been the lucky recipient of a rare John Lennon release thanks to the former Beatle's wife and son.

Yoko Ono and Sean Ono Lennon have sent out 50 vinyl copies of Happy Xmas (War is Over) to charities and shops across the UK in the hope the record's sale will generate funds.

A note attached to the gifts urged the charities to use the limited edition 12-inch vinyl acetates to "sell, auction [and] raise money".

The one-sided acetate, featuring John and Yoko, was hand-cut on the lathe at the legendary Abbey Road Studios.

Each edition is stickered and numbered out of 50 and includes a machine printed signature from Yoko, making them hugely collectable.

The selected recipients, which include 25 charities and 25 independent record shops, were personally chosen by Yoko and Sean with a note reading: "Happy Xmas.

"This is one of only fifty Limited Edition acetates hand-cut at Abbey Road, it's yours - to sell, auction, raise money to help your business or your favourite charity or to fund your Xmas party - to spread Xmas cheer.

"We'd love to see the journey these acetates take, and the goodwill that they spread."

The records have been sent to regions across the UK including Belfast, Birkenhead, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Cardiff and Newcastle.

Ben Savage, of Skeleton Records in Birkenhead, said: "It's not every day you get a John Lennon acetate in the post!

"Many thanks to Sean Ono Lennon for his generosity. It's a fabulous idea and we're extremely grateful!"

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) was originally released as a single in 1971 and reached number four in the UK charts. It was released again following John's death 1980 and reached number two.