George Michael fans celebrate his life at Tropicana Beach Club’s Tribute Party.
Tropicana Beach Club, a Covent Garden nightclub which takes inspiration from the hit, Club Tropicana hosted a marathon George Michael Tribute Party on Friday January 6 and Saturday January 7 to raise money for Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), Macmillan Cancer Support and Childline, three charities which the late star had generously supported.
Over 2500 fans attended the events raising £5,500 in donations and more promised from the sales of a Club Tropicana cocktail special in which the club is donating all takings from throughout the month of January.
Anthony Knight, Marketing Manager of Tropicana Beach Club and the event organiser said: “As a gay man myself, I have nothing but respect for George Michael. He didn’t just open the doors, he broke them down for the gay community. He inspired people to be proud of who they were and was a fantastic ambassador for LGBT rights.”
“We wanted to pay tribute to George Michael and raising money for charity felt like the best way to do this following the recent stories of just how generous he was. We waived our usual £10 entry fee and asked for people to give what they could. I have been humbled at the response. We’ve been sent everything from signed George Michael concert tickets to football boots signed by premiership football stars to auction off to help reach our target of £10,000.”
The event which was originally planned to be a small celebration on a Thursday night attracted worldwide attention with fans flying in from as far as America, Germany, France, Holland, Greece and Dubai to attend. Within days, of announcing the event thousands had responded with over 11,000 fans registering their interest to attend with extra dates added to accommodate demand.
Guests were treated to tribute performances, celebrity sing-alongs and danced until 2am in the morning wearing George Michael masks. Fans were invited to the stage by compere, Jullian Bennett, a close friend of the late star to share their memories of George.
Hannah Jefferson-Smith, a 29 year-old student nurse who had travelled down from Glasgow shared that she had lost her virginity to Careless Whisper when she was 20. There were cheers before the gathered fans burst into a cover of the hit.
In one dedicated corner of the club, fans stuck message of tribute to the singer on a wall. “Childhood soundtrack, foundation of friendships, lonely days, joyful dances, cheesy sing alongs – all scream George. Lovely, genuine, funny man of ours. Lots of love,” one note read.
Amrit Sagoo, 40, dressed in the uniform of a policeman was one of the first to arrive: “As a gay man growing up around a lot of straight men, listening to George Michael gave me a sense of release,” he said. “In my deepest, loneliest of times, his music was a source of comfort to me.”
Jane Barron, from THT, said: “We are grateful to Tropicana Beach Club for raising funds towards our vital work supporting people affected by HIV. The funds they raise in George Michael’s memory will help us towards our vision of a world where people living with HIV can live healthy lives, free from prejudice and discrimination.”