Unlikely partners Sting and Mel Gibson are teaming up to help fund the restoration of classic artist MICHELANGELO's statue DAVID.

The famous pair form part of a group of art lovers - called the FRIENDS OF FLORENCE - who have agreed to back "worthy" projects in the Italian city.

The association has already pledged $1.6 million (GBP1 million) to art projects - which has seen the restoration of 22 paintings by contemporaries of Michelangelo.

The COUNTESS SIMONETTA BRANDOLINI D'ADDA, the group's chairwoman, says, "Mel Gibson got involved in our project because he's a friend of mine."

16/07/2003 17:32