Celebrities dig deep at Elton John ball to raise £2m for Aids

Frenzied bidding among celebrities and millionaires raised £1 million in a charity auction at Elton John's annual white tie and tiara fundraising ball at the weekend.

Actor Hugh Grant and a mystery businessman eventually called a truce in a ferocious bidding battle, agreeing to each pay £390,000 to take five guests to a private dinner party hosted by the singer.

Other auction items included a party package for the 2004 Oscars including flights, VIP tickets and a set of Louis Vuitton luggage, which sold for £70,000.

With ticket prices and other revenue included, the 480 guests raised about £2 million for the Elton John Aids Foundation. The money will be used to fund Aids and HIV educational and care projects around the world.

"All of the money raised at the ball will go directly to the charity," said fundraising director Simon Prytherch.

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