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Elton John World News: Caring And Sharing

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Elton's Weekend Included Stop in Russia

Monday 28 November 2005 @ 18:29 - GMT

Elton seems to be spending a lot of time in St. Petersburg lately.

Besides planning a reception there following his civil ceremony next month, he was at an historic venue Saturday night, according to the November 26, 2005 Independent.

He performed at the Catherine Palace for 450 guests like Philip Green, the billionaire owner of Top Shop and Bhs and entrepreneur Tom Hunter. They paid £5,000 each, but this was part of a three-day gala benefitting the NSPCC.

It was the brainchild of clothing tycoon Richard Caring, whose  company supplies many of Mr. Green's outlets, as well as shops including Marks & Spencer and Next. He is said to have arranged individually fitted Russian period costumes for all the attendees, ready for their arrival. It is not known whether they were prepared in the Far East, where most of his products are made. Invitations are said to have been hidden inside a series of Russian dolls.

The NSPCC said they had no involvement with the organisation of the event, although they were aware it was taking place. Nick Booth, director of its Full Stop campaign, said: "Money raised from this event will go towards our work fighting child sexual abuse. This is a horrific crime which has a devastating impact on the lives of those who suffer it.

"We are delighted that new funds will be made available for our work in this area, enabling us to make a real difference to abused children. Everyone at the NSPCC is deeply grateful to Richard Caring for his amazing support."

A spokesman for Elton firmly rejected suggestions that he was being paid £1m for the appearance. "This is a charity event, for which Sir Elton had a private contractual arrangement which enables him to give his services to charity. He gives an enormous amount to charities."

Viewed by many as more important than even his friend and associate Mr. Green in controlling the high street, Mr. Caring is famously low-profile. His emergence into the public eye came earlier this year when he bought Caprice Holdings, the company behind the group of London restaurants which includes The Ivy, Le Caprice, Daphne's and J Sheekey, all noted for their celebrity customers. He has since bought the Strada chain of upmarket pizzerias.

Despite his business and social activities - and the fact that he lives in one of north London's grandest private homes in Hampstead - Mr. Caring is determined to remain out of sight. His firm, International Clothing Designs, recently said that nobody was available for comment on the weekend's events.

However, it may be that between him and Mr. Green, there is a little one-upmanship going on in relation to their parties (and this doesn't include others, such as the White Tie and Tiara ball, when Caring paid 190,000 pounds--as did Hugh Grant--to dine privately with Elton).

 At any rate, few years ago, Mr. Green flew 200 of his friends to Cyprus for his 50th birthday party, with a Roman toga theme, with Rod Stewart providing the entertainment.