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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 September, 2003, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
Michael backs children's charity
George Michael
George Michael courted controversy with his last single Shoot the Dog
Singer George Michael has joined stars including Julie Walters and TV chef Gary Rhodes to help raise 20m for terminally ill children.

Presenter Gail Porter and soap stars Danniella Westbrook and Helen Worth were also in London to launch the appeal for the Rainbow Trust charity.

"Rainbow Trust not only takes care of a child but they also take very good care of the family and understand the family's situation," said Michael, a patron of the charity.

"Loss is such an incredibly difficult thing. I bow down to people who actually have to deal with the loss of a child, " added the 40-year-old pop star.

The charity offers care and support to families with a terminally ill child either at home or at designated centres in Surrey and Fernstone, near Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Julie Walters & Helen Mirren
Julie Walters is currently topping the box office with Calendar Girls

Calendar Girls star Julie Walters had first-hand experience of the charity's work when her two-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukaemia.

"My daughter was treated at the Royal Marsden Hospital and the Rainbow Trust looked after a lot of people then... so I know what a wonderful charity it is," said Walters.

Rainbow Trust founder Bernadette Cleary said the charity hoped to raise 20 million over the next five years so it could benefit twice the number of families.

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