The Aurora Group’s 12th anniversary annual dinner celebrated Gay Paris at the Sydney Town Hall on Saturday night, with the 430 GLBTI community members in attendance raising more than $60,000.

Parisian chanteuse Caroline Nin, in town ahead of shows at the Vanguard on July 30 and 31, added a touch of authentic French glamour to the night, performing a set that included Grace Jones’ Libertango and Edith Piaf’s Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.

“It was a brilliant night, with an amazing crowd. I stayed for a few hours and got to relax and catch up with friends after my performance,” Nin told the Star Observer after the dinner.

“I didn’t have to think twice when I was asked to perform. I always do charity events, wherever I am. And [performing in French] is what I do, so they definitely came to the right person.”

NSW Governor Marie Bashir, Sir Nicholas Shehadie and Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP attended alongside federal and state MPs, including federal Wentworth MP Malcolm Turnbull. NSW Minister for Health Jillian Skinner represented Premier Barry O’Farrell, who sent his apologies.

The money raised at the dinner will go to Aurora’s ongoing support of its major beneficiaries, the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service and Twenty10. The Aurora Group will also call for community grant submissions in the next two months in support of projects to benefit the GLBT community.

Guests arrived on the red carpet with rainbow banners flying out the front of the venue, while inside, the night was hosted by ‘international musical therapist’ Jan Van de Stool. Joining Nin in the entertainment line-up were Paul Capsis, Queenie van de Zandt, and burlesque performer Imogen Kelly.

The surprise performance of the evening was from Debra Byrne, who made a late-night appearance following her evening’s performance in Mary Poppins. She performed the signature I Dreamed A Dream from Les Misérables.

“The Aurora dinner is our major fundraising event for the year and the Aurora directors are overjoyed that not only did we showcase French glamour, excellent food, wine and showstopping entertainment to 430 guests, but we raised an exceptional amount of money,” said Aurora chair David Moutou said.

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