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British TV stars Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan helped raise millions of dollars for a UK-based family support charity this week.

The pair took to the stage for an informal chat at the annual Norwood Dinner to help thousands of Jewish children and families with learning difficulties and social problems. Cowell also introduced Norwood’s fundraising film, and expressed his admiration for the charity’s work.

“Charities carry out extraordinary work and I like to support them as much as possible,” he said. “To see so many people out tonight to support Norwood is staggering. Through my friend Richard Desmond [charity president], I have learnt a lot about Norwood and I understand why you’re all here. I’m a great believer that we have to support British charities and I’m very happy to support this cause.”

The dinner – held on Monday, November 17 – raised £3m (US$6 million) for Norwood to go towards the £9 million (US$18 million) that the charity needs this year in donations to maintain its services supporting children, families and adults, coping with disabilities and social disadvantage within the Jewish community and beyond.

“This year, more than ever before, we appreciate the generosity of Norwood’s donors who have demonstrated that even in this tough financial climate, they are there for the children, families and adults who rely on Norwood’s support,” said Richard Desmond.

Desmond also surprised the 1,200 guests by announcing that the charity’s patron, Queen Elizabeth, will visit Ravenswood in Berkshire, Norwood’s residential community for adults with learning disabilities, on 11 December.

“Something that sets Norwood apart is that we have the Queen as our Royal Patron,” said Desmond. "I am delighted that she has requested to meet children and adults who use our services, together with staff who support them.

“We are all looking forward to showing her our fantastic services. Whilst she is at Ravenswood she will be opening the new Pamela Barnett Centre for adults with profound and multiple disabilities. It’s a great honor to have Her Majesty’s support.”

More information about the charity can be found at their website.

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