VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Take That surprise as Eliot Kennedy's 50th birthday gig raises £100,000

Take That's Gary Barlow turned up with surprise guest bandmate Mark Owen to perform at Sheffield hitmaker pal Eliot Kennedy's star-studded 50th birthday charity gig which has raised £100,000.

By Graham Walker
Sunday, 31 March, 2019, 13:13

Singing sensations Alfie Boe and Laura Michelle Kelly, stars of Eliot and Gary's Broadway musical Finding Neverland, performed hits from it together for the first time on a stage in the UK.

Rocker John Parr, dance star Heather Small, chart-toppers SClub, The X Factor's Andy Abraham and soul singer Kenny Thomas also thrilled a packed Sheffield City Hall.

Eliot Kennedy with star-studded line up Take That's Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and singing sensation Alfie Boe, who posted the photo on his Facebook page.

The city's singer songwriter John Reilly, Hidden Wounds star Joanne Heselden-Edwards, hotly-tipped new talents Charlotte Hannah, Georgie Harrison and more were on the show, hosted by BBC radio presenter Steve White.

It raised money for #ChallengeDerbyshire, supporting local end of life care charities Ashgate Hospice, Helen's Trust and Blythe House Hospice Care.

VIDEO: Watch show highlights in the video at the top of the page and see the heartfelt tributes filmed with the all-star bill backstage on the embedded YouTube player - or CLICK HERE.

Even the audience included celebrity fans of Grammy and Ivor Novello award winner Eliot, including The Human League's Phil Oakey and BBC presenter Becky Measures.

Eliot taking centre centre with pals for a golden celebration of his greatest hits. Photos by Kate Hunter.

Eliot celebrated his golden landmark by taking centre stage, with a band of industry greats led by right hand man James Jayawardena, to perform some of his own hits made in Sheffield at his Steelworks Studios - including The Spice Girls’ Say You’ll Be There, Boyzone’s Picture Of You, Bryan Adams and Melanie C duet, When You’re Gone.

But with original artists on hand they belted out their own classics - SClub performed their Eliot penned 1999 debut chart-topper Bring It All Back.

His own first number, Take That’s Everything Changes, which he wrote with frontman Gary, topped the charts exactly a quarter of a century ago on Eliot's 25th birthday - so it was poignant they performed it together at the City Hall.

But the song that got to him most was when the 2,000 strong crowd serenaded him with Happy Birthday.

Take That frontman and Eliot's best pal Gary Barlow hitting the right notes at 100k fundraising birthday concert,

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"That was beautiful. I lost it at that point I had to go dry my eyes with a towel at the back of the stage. What a noise. What a sound that was" he said, in an exclusive chat backstage.

"I've been struggling to come up with a way of explaining the way that I feel.

"I think it's being overwhelmed. I've never had such an emotional outpouring from people that I love like this.

"All the artists performed so incredible well, with passion.They are my genuinely my friends and goes beyond being on the studio. But to come to a gig celebrating my career and my life is just the most emotional experience I've ever had.

Finding Neverland singing sensation Alfie Boe

"Seeing these iconic artists, who have thrilled people on stage in New York and around the world - literally international icons.

"And of course Gary. What can I say? He's my best mate. I never take it for granted. And he turned up with Mark. Unbelievable. That was lovely.

"What's next? I can't wait to start writing songs for Heather Small's album."

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