Elton John received a standing ovation at a concert in Sydney on Tuesday night after pledging $1 million for Australia’s bushfire relief efforts.
The singer-songwriter matched the superhero-sized pledge of $1 million made by Marvel star Chris Hemsworth earlier in the day as they joined other phenomenally generous stars donating to bushfire charities.
Speaking to the crowd at the Sydney Superdome, the John said Australia should be “in awe” of its firefighters, who are battling an unprecedented bushfire season.
“There are people out there who have lost their lives trying to save homes. There are people who have lost their lives and their homes,” he said.
“And lastly there’s the plight of the animals. A loss of their habitat that frankly is on a biblical scale, and heart-breaking. Therefore, tonight I will be pledging one million dollars to support the bushfire relief fund.”
Elton John just donated one million dollars to the bushfire relief pic.twitter.com/Ld2i0t9n98
— Britt (@BrittA2211) January 7, 2020
Hemsworth, 36, announced his donation on Instagram on Tuesday, encouraging his 38.9 million followers to “dig deep” and help in any way that they can.
“We’re still in the thick of it here with plenty of challenging times ahead and still to come. So, what we need is your support and your donations,” the father of three said in a video.
Hemsworth had already thrown his support behind two ‘Make It Rain’ fundraisers for “firies” at Byron Bay’s Beach Hotel on January 8 and 9, featuring acts including Wolfmother, Bernard Fanning and Tim Rogers.
Among the silent auction items which can be bid for online is a personal training session with Hemsworth and his actress wife Elsa Pataky.
Weeks ago, Kylie Minogue made headlines as the face of a carefree, alluring Australia in an ad campaign to lure Brits battered by winter and Brexit. Now, Minogue is the one forking over to help her home nation.
With her Matesong campaign temporarily shelved during Australia’s bushfire crisis out of respect for victims, Minogue posted on Monday that her family has donated $500,000.
Wearing jeans and a denim shirt in a smoke-hazed paddock, the pop star said “returning home to such devastation … is heartbreaking” and called for donations “big or small”.
Hollywood power couple Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban got in early, donating $500,000 after spending Christmas in Sydney with daughters Sunday, 11, and Faith, 9.
Kidman was reportedly in tears over the bushfires at a pre-Golden Globes function in Los Angeles. At the January 5 awards ceremony, stars including Pierce Brosnan, Ellen DeGeneres and Joaquin Phoenix pleaded for not just donations but action over the fires.
Pink, who spent three months in Australia in 2018 on her Beautiful Trauma tour, was the first to make a half-million-dollar pledge “directly to the local fire services that are battling so hard on the frontlines”.
The singer wrote she is “totally devastated watching what is happening in Australia right now with the horrific bushfires. My heart goes out to our friends and family in Oz”.
Comedian Celeste Barber’s Facebook donations page has raised more than $30 million in just days for The Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service & Brigades Donations Fund.
Russell Crowe, who skipped the Globes to “defend his family”, handed over 19 cheques worth $105,000 to RFS Captain John Lardner back in November when his Nana Glen, NSW, property was threatened.
Bids rushed in after Shane Warne, who also featured in Minogue’s Tourism Australia ad, decided on Monday to auction the baggy green cap worn during his Test career.
“I hope my baggy green can raise some significant funds to help all those people that are in desperate need,” Warne said.
By 1.30pm Tuesday, the top bid was $315,500.
After using Twitter to call on Tennis Australia to have an exhibition match before this month’s Australian Open – it will be held at Rod Laver Arena on January 15 – Nick Kyrgios tweeted he would donate $200 per ace he serves across all his events during the summer.
Other tennis players including Samantha Stosur and Alex De Minaur pledged to donate money per ace. World No 1 Ashley Barty promised to donate her prize money from the Brisbane International Open. If she wins, the cash is $383,000.
Former No 1 Maria Sharapova also got on board, pledging at least $25,000 for bushfire relief and calling on reigning Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic to follow suit.
The month of January in Australia has been my 🏠 for the past 15 years. Watching the fires destroy the lands, it’s beautiful families and communities of animals is deeply💔. I would like to begin my donation at 25K. @DjokerNole, would you match my donation?🙏🏻 #letsallcometogether
— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) January 5, 2020
Actor Eric Bana voiced a series of radio and TV ads to drive donations to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund and Big Bash League players including Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell and D’arcy Short pledged to give $250 for every six they hit.
Love it Lynny!!
I’ll match you on $250 per six I hit in this years BBL. Great cause which is helping so many people around the country who are doing it tough right now. 🙏 https://t.co/hcJea0B6hh
— Glenn Maxwell (@Gmaxi_32) January 2, 2020
Magda Szubanski joined forces with Will Connolly, aka ‘Egg Boy’, to set up a GoFundMe page to assist those affected “long term psychologically” by the bushfires.
Once the fires have burnt out and are no longer on the front page of the newspaper, show them that you still care!” Connolly wrote.
Firefight Australia, to be held at Sydney’s Stadium Australia on February 16, will attract a “globally-renowned” line-up, according to promoter TEG Dainty.
The hot rumour is Queen may play. The band has a show in Sydney on February 15, and guitarist Brian May posted on social media he felt “helpless” about the fires.