London: Stonewall celebrity dinner raises £394,000

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Over 500 guests, including celebrities and politicians, attended Stonewall’s annual Equality Dinner at London’s Dorchester Hotel last night.

The event, hosted by writer and performer Stella Duffy, raised a record-breaking £394,000 to support Stonewall’s campaigns against homophobia in Britain and worldwide.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe attended the dinner. Other guests included Clare Balding, Gok Wan, MPs John Bercow, Nick Herbert, Diane Abbott, Angela Eagle and Chris Bryant.

Entertainer Christopher Biggins led a live auction, with lots including tea with Tony Blair, champagne with Jennifer Saunders and VIP tickets to Sir Elton John’s show in Las Vegas.

Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies host Dr Christian Jessen gave an emotional speech during the dinner, in which he spoke about a school friend who had taken his own life after suffering anti-gay bullying. “It’s a shocking fact that over half of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils experience homophobic bullying,” he said. “I think it’s embarrassing and shameful that in 2013 there are still young people, like my friend Paul, who struggle to understand why what they are seems to matter so much more than who they are.”

Stonewall Deputy Chief Executive Laura Doughty said: “Homophobia remains a huge problem in Britain’s schools, and in 80 countries worldwide it’s illegal to be gay. These are just two of the challenges we’re dealing with every single day. We know we face a huge challenge in making homophobia thing of the past, and we’re enormously grateful to everyone who made this evening such a huge success.”