In memory of Raisa

Mikhail Gorbachev flies to London for a charity event in honour of his late wife.
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The Independent Online

Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Russian president, flew into London this weekend as guest of honour at a party held in aid of the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation.

Joined by leading figures from the worlds of art, fashion, music and film, Mr Gorbachev was last night received by Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev, owners of the Independent titles and the London Evening Standard for an evening at their family home, Stud House, in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace.

As the evening cooled, the operatic soprano Anna Netrebko, then Bryan Ferry, performed for guests who included Hugh Grant, Vanessa Redgrave, David Walliams, David Furnish, Anjelica Huston, Dougray Scott, Joely Richardson, Patrick Cox, Goga Ashkenazi, Yasmin Le Bon and Jay Jopling. A drinks reception on the lawns was followed by a gala dinner and fundraising auction.

The auction included a triptych by Francis Bacon and works by Jeff Koons, Gavin Turk and Michael Craig-Martin. Guests moved to dinner through the re-creation of a gilded and onion-domed Russian Orthodox church.

Founded in 2006, the fund honours Mrs Gorbachev, who died of leukaemia in 1999. She campaigned to improve the lives of children with cancer by removing financial and political barriers to treatment. Since its foundation, the charity has raised over £5.5m, and the annual party has become a major fixture on the international social scene. Proceeds from last night's event will be divided between the foundation and Marie Curie Cancer Care, with which it has a strong alliance.

"My constant aim is to raise as much money as possible to alleviate the suffering of children who have cancer," Mr Gorbachev said.