Pop star George Michael secretly funded Highgate's Fair in the Square celebrations and village Christmas Tree
PUBLISHED: 15:10 30 December 2016 | UPDATED: 16:22 30 December 2016
PA Wire/Press Association Images
The late singer anonymously paid for the Highgate Christmas tree and was the largest private sponsor of the fair, which attracts thousands of people each year
Following his shock death on Christmas Day, the chair of Highgate’s Fair in the Square, a huge George Michael fan, has revealed that the star donated to the event faithfully for the last ten years.
Meanwhile fans want to erect a statue to the pop legend on the green opposite his house in The Grove.
Holly Lodge resident Veronica Day, who organises the annual summer fair, wrote to Mr Michael’s office ten years ago to ask for a contribution and received a swift reply from George that he would donate anonymously.
Mr Michael, who lived in The Grove in Highgate, continued to be the largest private sponsor each year, including for this summer’s event.
The only people who knew of his generosity were the volunteer committee of the Fair in the Square.
More than 10,000 people attended this year’s fair, which is entirely volunteer-run and relies on donations from private individuals as well as businesses including the Ham&High.
Mrs Day said: “For over a decade George Michael was the most generous private sponsor of the annual Highgate ‘Fair in the Square’ and always asked for his donation to remain anonymous - ‘from a local resident’.
“The Fair in the Square organisers would like to pay public tribute to his unsparing support, and for his other acts of philanthropy to the local community.
“His contributions made the world and Highgate a brighter place.”
She added: “I really want people to know that he was very generous to his local community.”
Each year the committee invited him to the event, extending an invitation to his two Labradors for the dog show at one point, but he declined, preferring to support the event behind the scenes.
Mrs Day said it is also known that Mr Michael, who died at 53, pays for the Christmas Tree in the green opposite his house every year, for the enjoyment of the Highgate community.
While Mrs Day has never met Mr Michael, who rose to fame as part of Wham!, she did receive a birthday card from him around 15 years ago.
His sister, Melanie, had a gift shop called “Sea” on Highgate West Hill – “before shabby chic was in, she was doing shabby chic,” Mrs Day said.
For her 40th birthday party, Mrs Day had a George Michael impersonator, and her husband went into the shop to ask if the real George Michael could send his wife a card.
Mrs Day was delighted to receive a card with the words, “to Veronica, Happy Birthday, love George.”
As the community continue to gather in front of Mr Michael’s house to pay tribute to the secret philanthropist, a local fan has started a petition to put up a George Michael statue in the green space outside his house.
Muswell Hill resident John Vasiliou put up the petition 12 hours ago and it has more than 250 signatures.
He said: “He did so much for charity anonymously, it would be something for his recognition.”
“If we could put something out there, it would be good for his community, good for Highgate.”
– To sign the petition, visit here.