30 March 2012
Over 500 guests – including celebrities, politicians and all of London’s mayoral candidates – attended Stonewall’s annual Equality Dinner at London’s Dorchester Hotel last night. The event raised a record-breaking £393,000 to support Stonewall’s Education for All campaign tackling homophobic bullying in schools.
Hosted by Stella Duffy, the Dinner included a live auction led by Christopher Biggins. Guests included Dr Christian Jessen, Val McDermid, Charlie Condou, Harry Derbidge, House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, Lord Alli and MPs Lynne Featherstone, Angela Eagle and Margot James. Munroe Bergdorf played a DJ set at the end of the night.
Clare Balding gave an emotional keynote speech about sport, saying: ‘If we convince coaches that the sporting world will be improved if people can be out and comfortable, that will translate across to performance. Each of us makes a little personal triumph every time we persuade someone that I can still do my job, I can still have fun and be everything you want me to be, and I'm gay. Not “but I'm gay” but “and I'm gay”.’ She paid tribute to Stonewall for supporting her during her 2010 campaign to secure an apology from the Sunday Times after its columnist AA Gill derided her as a ‘dyke on a bike’.
Stonewall’s Laura Doughty said: ‘The fact that two thirds of gay secondary school pupils in Britain still face homophobic bullying shows how much there is still to do.’
During the event it was announced that Aviva has just signed a new sponsorship agreement to support the Equality Dinner and Stonewall’s work for a further three years from 2013-2015 in the sum of £250,000.
Auction lots included meet-and-greet experiences with Elton John and opera star Renée Fleming, dinner dates with Ian McKellen and Ben Cohen, VIP tickets to the MTV Europe Music Awards and a unique Maggi Hambling painting.
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