A fund raising benefit show to help a gay pressure group turned into one of the glitziest events of the year last night. Some of the pounds 100,000 raised will go towards helping the group, Stonewall, campaign about the treatment of homosexuals in the armed forces. Elton John gave his only UK concert this autumn to top the bill at the 1995 Equality Show in the Royal Albert Hall.
He was joined by the singers Kylie Minogue, Marc Almond and Janice Ian. And in an unannounced appearance, the television entertainer Michael Barrymore gave his first performance before a largely gay audience since publicly coming out a few weeks ago.
In a strong comedy line-up there were also appearances from the "Absolutely Fabulous" team of Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, and from Eddie Izzard, Julian Clary,Lilly Savage and Sandi Toksvig.
A spokeswoman for the event said that the pounds 100,000 would be used for a number of activities but one of the most immediate would be the armed forces campaign.
Stonewall's best known campaigning celebrity, Sir Ian McKellen directed the show, the biggest ticketed gay and lesbian event ever held in the UK. At the end of the show,equality awards were presented to Phumzile Mtetwa and Simon Nkoli for their campaigning work for gay organisations in South Africa.
Tickets at the sold-out event last night cost up to pounds 50. And for a further pounds 10 the audience could join the performers in Heaven, the London gay nightclub, for a private party.
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