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Elton John World News: An Evening With Elton

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Entertainer Plans May 9 Benefit

Wednesday 26 April 2006 @ 17:12 - GMT

Ashes hero Andrew Flintoff is poised to take his first steps into showbusiness by teaming up with Elton for a one-off charity duet next month.

The athlete will join the singer on stage during Flintoff's benefit event at Battersea Park on May 9.

Flintoff, famous for his drunken version of Elvis Presley's Suspicious Minds at Trafalgar Square in the middle of last summer's Ashes victory party, adopted Elton's Rocket Man as England's unofficial anthem of the summer after playing it incessantly in the dressing room.

"Appearing with the great man seems far more daunting than bowling to Ricky Ponting or facing Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne," said Flintoff.

The Lancashire all-rounder is using his benefit year to try to raise more than £1million for the Chase Ben Hollioake Fund, Leukaemia Research, The Kirsty Appeal, the Magic Bus Charity and the Lords Taverners.

An Evening with Elton will also include a special sporting question and answer session with Flintoff, England team-mate Darren Gough and rugby World Cup winners Martin Johnson and Lawrence Dallaglio.

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"Andrew puts bums on seats, makes the game as exciting as it can be," said Elton. "And he plays the game in a sporting manner, the manner in which all sports should be played.

"The feeling of anticipation when he comes onto bowl or comes into bat is electric - just like a certain 'Beefy' Botham," added the pianist, who was an unofficial member of Mike Gatting's Ashes squad in 1986-87, the last time England claimed the Ashes before last summer.