George Michael smiling in glasses and inset with Andrew Ridgley in Wham!

9 extraordinary acts of secret kindness and charity by Wham! legend George Michael

Philanthropy was at the core of his being

George Michael is back in the hearts and minds of millions as Netflix film Wham! – a joyful documentary about the 1980s band, featuring George and his good pal Andrew Ridgeley – delights viewers.

The one-off programme touches upon the duo’s generosity in giving proceed from their 1986 single Last Christmas to the Ethiopia famine relief. It came after Band Aid pipped them to the coveted Christmas number one spot in the charts.

But this was just one of many charitable acts by George, who died on Christmas Day 2016 at the age of 53. Most have only come to light since his death, as he quietly went about spreading kindness…

George Michael on stage singing against a red background
Wham! star George Michael died on Christmas Day in 2016 (Credit: Splash News)

Wham! star George Michael and his incredible acts of kindness

George was Childline’s anonymous patron and none of us knew it until he died.

Childline, a UK-based charity offering free counselling to children in distress, received significant donations from George Michael.

Founder Dame Esther Rantzen revealed after his death that he had given the royalties from his 1996 hit Jesus To A Child to the charity. He requested anonymity during his lifetime, which resulted in his contributions often going unrecognised.

Royalties to charitable causes

In a remarkable act of generosity, as highlighted in the documentary, George and his Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley donated all the royalties from their hit single Last Christmas/Everything She Wants to charity.

One was Help A London Child, supporting underprivileged children in the British capital. The other was Band Aid, the supergroup behind the charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas?, which aimed to raise funds for relief of the 1984 Ethiopian famine.

The gesture remained a secret for many years until it was revealed following Michael’s passing.

Small gestures, big impact

A woman appeared on the TV show Deal or No Deal and shared her dream of visiting a fertility clinic. Sadly, however, she couldn’t afford the treatment. George, touched by her story, secretly called the show after the episode and donated the money needed for her treatment.

He also gave money to another women, named Jo, for IVF after she told her story on This Morning in 2010. She ended up welcoming a little girl called Betsy.

Jo and Betsy smile on This Morning
Proud mum Jo returned to This Morning with daughter Betsy recently (Credit: Youtube/ITV)

Performing for NHS nurses

In 2006, George Michael held a free concert specifically for NHS nurses in North London as a thank you for the care they provided to his late mother. The gesture was a heartfelt show of gratitude and demonstrated his deep respect for the healthcare profession.

Supporting the fight against HIV and AIDS

George was a significant donor to the Terrence Higgins Trust, an organisation that fights HIV/AIDS. He was moved to contribute due to the loss of his former partner, Anselmo Feleppa, to the disease.

Anonymous charity auctions

The singer frequently participated in charity auctions, often anonymously. He would bid on items not for his personal collection, but to ensure the auction raised substantial amounts of money for its cause.

Supporting the Miners’ Strike

During the mid-1980s Miners’ Strike in the UK, George supported the families affected by the strike. He donated some of the proceeds from Wham!’s hit single Last Christmas to the relief effort, keeping his contribution anonymous for years.

George Michael smiling wearing glasses and a suit and tie
Philanthropy was a huge part of George’s life (Credit: Splash News)

Donations to Macmillan Cancer Support

George’s generosity also extended to Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity that had helped his family. Although the exact figure remains undisclosed, the charity confirmed that he was a significant benefactor.

Random acts of generosity by Wham! star George Michael

Stories of the star’s random acts of generosity surfaced after his passing. These included tipping a student nurse £5,000 because she was in debt, and helping a stranger in a café by giving them money to clear their debt.

While his life was often in the limelight, George Michael’s philanthropy largely remained in the shadows until after his passing, reflecting his desire to give without fanfare. His contributions, both to the music world and the lives of those he quietly helped, leave a lasting legacy that continues to inspire.

This article has been created with the aid of AI.

Read more: George Michael’s ex breaks silence on his death

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