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Thursday, 19 April, 2001, 18:05 GMT 19:05 UK
Thousands raised at Farm Aid benefit
Becky Taylor meets Prince Charles
Prince Charles promised to watch Becky's career
About £275,000 has been raised for farmers hit by the foot-and-mouth crisis at a gala concert attended by the Prince of Wales.

Young singing star Becky Taylor stole the show when she performed in front of the prince at the Royal Albert Hall.

Becky, who has been compared with Charlotte Church by some critics, joined stars from the worlds of music, ballet and cabaret.

Organisers were delighted with the amount raised on the night for the Farm Aid Appeal.

At least £35,000 of the total amount came from donations collected after the performance.

He [Prince Charles] said I was amazing and that he couldn't believe I was 12 years old

Becky Taylor
The event, hosted by former newsreader Angela Rippon and actor Robert Powell, featured music from the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Anthony Inglis, Humphrey Burton and Josť Cura.

Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta from the Royal Ballet also performed.

Royal seal of approval

In front of an audience of 4,000, Becky gave a rendition of Once Upon A December from Anastasia and was given the royal seal of approval by Prince Charles at an after-show reception.

"He said I was amazing and that he couldn't believe I was 12 years old," said Becky, who comes from Guildford, Surrey.

"He said he would watch my career with interest and asked if singing ran in my family."

Tamara Rojo and Prince Charles
Tamara Rojo was among the performers

Prince Charles, who flew from Balmoral especially for the event, thanked all the performers and met members of charities helping the rural community get through the epidemic.

Host Angela Rippon said: "I was born in the West Country and brought up in Devon.

"I have loads of friends who are farmers whose lives are going up in smoke. It's my way of doing something positive to help them."

The concert also featured appearances by:

  • Broadway star Kim Criswell, conducted by Wayne Marshall
  • Dillie Keane, from Fascinating Aida
  • Kit and the Widow
  • Charles Collingwood
  • Judy Bennett
  • Chester Whitmore
  • Vivien Creegor

    Thriller writer Frederick Forsyth and presenter Selina Scott also appeared at the benefit event.

    The crisis has not just hit the farming industry but has also had repercussions for the tourism industry.

    Prince Charles and Robert Powell
    Actor Robert Powell meets Prince Charles
    Peter Frost-Pennington, a Ministry of Agriculture inspector from Carlisle, read a poem he had composed while ordering the killing of thousands of animals.

    He said: "Damien Hirst has nothing on me. I create ghastly pictures of death officially sanctioned.

    "The countryside I love is bleeding to death."

    The Prince told him he was "touched" by the poem and was impressed it had been written in only 20 minutes.

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