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The Elton John AIDS Foundation celebrates 21 Years with Woodside Windsor home

Rebecca Wang, Sir Ian Mackellen, Ellie Goulding and David Walliams  were among those supporting the dazzling Woodside summer party hosted by Elton John and David Furnish to mark the 21st birthday of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish opened Woodside, their Windsor home on Thursday September 4th 2014 to host friends, supporters and A-list celebrities for the End of Summer Party.

The exclusive party took place in the landscaped and specially decorated gardens of the expansive Queen Anne style mansion which lies adjacent to the grounds of Windsor Castle. Conceived as a new and unique fundraising event to mark the 21st birthday and achievements of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the intimate gathering welcomed friends and supporters to enjoy superb food, entertainment and music against a stunning backdrop of flower bedecked statues and extraordinary lighting effects.

Among the long-term supporters of the Elton John AIDS Foundation were world renowned actor Sir Ian Mackellen, and Hollywood executive producer Rebecca Wang, who expressed her support and sentiments in a “birthday” message for the foundation.

“Congratulations on the shining example to us all of your courage, dedication and persistence for an AIDS-free world,” she said. “The phenomenal global achievement of your HIV treatment, prevention and education programmes is exemplary. I am proud to support the Elton John AIDS Foundation and its amazing work.”

In association with Chopard, and supported by Grey Goose and Audi, the evening, requesting a dress code of summertime chic, opened with a champagne cocktail reception in the exquisite gardens, where a stellar array of British talent including Gary Barlow, Tom Odell, James Blunt, Chrissie Hynde, Alfie Boe and Elton John gave a series of fabulous “pop-up performances”.

Following a warm welcome from Elton John, guests then proceeded to the dining area, passing tableaux of models wearing priceless Chopard jewellery who posed motionless against statues garlanded in roses and hydrangeas.

A classic English meal paved the way for the live auction. This is a regular feature of the Foundation’s fundraising events, and, as always, offered an abundance of exclusive and singular lots, including a kiss from actress Elizabeth Hurley which fetched £50,000.  A first for this event was guests and those at home being able to pledge funds or messages of support via texts which were beamed up on a screen for all those present. 

The evening culminated with the unveiling of an incredible nightclub which included a performance from Cirque du Soleil, and a live set from special guest DJ Fatboy Slim, where guests danced late into the night. 

The End of Summer Party joins other superlative events regularly organized by the Foundation to further its work toward “creating an AIDS-free future.” In the US, EJAF’s annual Academy Awards Viewing Party in Hollywood has developed its own reputation as one of the most prestigious events held during Oscars week, while in the UK the summer White Tie and Tiara Ball has long been favorably documented in the media.

The foundation also holds “Enduring Vision” evenings in New York, which honour those who have shown outstanding dedication or made special contributions to advance the foundation’s cause.

About the Elton John AIDS Foundation

Established by the musician in 1992, the Elton John AIDS Foundation is one of the largest privately-funded institutions for AIDS in the world. In 20 years it has raised over £193 million ($300 million) to support more than 1,200 projects across four continents. Funding has helped leverage a further £228 million ($355 million) for programme partners, enabling them to reach millions of people affected by or at risk for HIV.