Bill Clinton made a speech. Prince rehearsed his sell-out concert. Madonna, the ultimate material girl, made an appeal.
The result was the most successful charity dinner in British history with £28 million raised in barely four hours at Marlborough House in Pall Mall, London.
Guests paid up to £100,000 for a table of 10 while raffle tickets were a more modestly priced £1,000. Each.
Guests included Jemima Khan, Bob Geldof, Liz Hurley and Eddie Jordan, the motor racing chief.
The dinner was organised by Absolute Return for Kids, founded by Arpad “Arki” Busson, the multi-millionaire French financier.
At the dinner Mr Clinton, the former US president, announced a joint £8 million venture between his foundation and the charity to double the number of medical staff in Mozambique to help Aids victims. “The world is changing into one in which private giving and private individuals can change the world,” he said. “You can lead this new world.”
They took him at his word. The most expensive lot, a safari in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya, fetched £480,000. A similar price was paid for a day on location with Daniel Craig, the James Bond actor.
A ticket to next year’s Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood, plus two Armani outfits and an invitation to Sir Elton John’s pre-Oscars party, went for £280,000.
The charity was given a head start with £8.3 million pledged in matched contributions from six hedge fund millionaires.
Each table also had the chance to win a limited-edition diamond necklace of six five-carat diamonds and a further 130 single-cut diamonds set in 18-carat white gold.
Guests dined on carpaccio and tartare of Kobe beef with foie gras and Sauternes terrine, followed by Cornish sea bass fillet with mint oil and lemongrass beurre blanc.
The charity’s projects have included helping with schooling for disadvantaged children in Britain.
The accolade of the most successful fund-raising dinner in history belongs to the Robin Hood hedge fund charity dinner in New York which last week raised $71million (£35.5 million).
source : telegraph.co.uk