Former Eurythmics leading lady Annie Lennox has accepted the 22nd Music Industry Trusts Award for her “outstanding contribution to British music” and tireless charity work.
One of the UK’s most successful solo artists, the Scottish singer has sold over 80 million records, won eight BRIT awards, taken home an Oscar for Into The West and topped the UK album chart several times.
Dressed in a golden gown, the 58-year old star expressed gratitude for the “lifetime of experiences and opportunities” that music has given her. “I feel very privileged to have been able to become an artist and communicator, especially as a woman,” she said.
She received the honour last night in front of more than 1,200 guests, including Peter Gabriel and David Gray at the Grosvenor Hotel in London.
BBC Radio 2 presenter Jo Whiley hosted the event in aid of music charity Nordoff Robbins and the BRIT Performing Arts and Technology School.
Lennox, who trained at the Royal Academy of Music, performed a number of hits from her extensive repertoire including "Here Comes The Rain Again" and "No More I Love Yous".
Acclaimed songstress Adele paid tribute to “an example of a brilliant talent that exudes excellence”, while Archbishop Desmond Tutu dubbed her “one of those exemplary human beings [...], a true friend of Africa”.
Stephen Fry admired Lennox’s “lustre and gleam”, Sir Elton John praised her “extraordinary contribution” and Chrissie Hynde said “the world is a better place when you sing”.
Best known for her charity work fighting AIDS, Lennox is a firm supporter of Greenpeace and Amnesty International. She established the SING campaign in 2007 to help women and children affected by HIV and in 2010 became a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for AIDS.
Prior to yesterday’s event, she expressed a wish for a more relaxed ceremony, writing on her Facebook page: “Why can’t we have performances at sensible times, like 5.30pm or something? Then everybody could get home in time for cocoa and a hot water bottle!”
Past winners of the award, which has raised over £4.5 million for charity, include Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, Gary Barlow and Sir Tom Jones.