Rod Stewart splashed out £15,000 on Friday, 13 October for a ‘Head of State’ experience with the Pope, which includes a personal face-to-face meeting with His Holiness in the Vatican. The ‘Maggie May’ singer was cheered on by wife Penny Lancaster as he raised his hand to offer the winning bid for the prize at Gloria Hunniford’s annual Pinktober Ball, held at the Dorchester Hotel in London and ‘presented by’ Hard Rock Heals. Rod’s winning lot will allow him a rare chance to watch a Papal Mass as a personal guest of the Pope himself. He will be situated in a VIP area to she side of the raised pulpit and will then be greeted personally by Pope Francis, who will bless each member in this exclusive area.
The generous rocker, 72, put his hand in his pocket earlier on in the evening too as Jeffrey Archer opened the live auction, for a caviar and champagne experience at the Ritz. Rod paid £4,000 for the very first lot, getting the fundraising part of the eventing off to a great start. This is a yearly event for TV favourite Gloria. She hosts the ball in aid of the foundation she set up in memory of her late daughter, Caron Keating, who sadly lost her battle against breast cancer in 2004. It was a huge day for 77-year-old Glo, as she’s known by her family, as she was awarded and OBE by the Queen just hours before.
Sophie Ellis Bextor sang at Gloria Hunniford's Pinktober Ball
After the auction, great family friend Richard Madeley took to the stage in an emotional moment to introduce Caron’s two sons to the audience, Charles and Gabriel, who were just 10 and 7 years old when there mother passed away. Now young men, Richard explained the handsome duo were preparing to step into the spotlight themselves to keep their mother’s memory alive through her foundation.
The trio then surprised Gloria by welcoming her onto the stage to present her with a cake which had been made in the shape of her OBE medal. “My boys – what can I say about Charlie and Gabriel,” the proud grandmother said. “I often tell people that Gabriel was like a little scared rabbit in the headlights [when his mother died] a little weepy in the eyes, and now look at him, six foot five, I’m like a dwarf in comparison. They’re terrific. They turn up for everything and that hasn’t been easy over the years. And I feel that in the future they will continue the foundation and that will please me enormously to think that if I go under a bus, or die from eating all of this cake, that they will continue.”