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By Martin Evans

A CHARITY concert and auction featuring some of the greatest names in rock has raised nearly half a million pounds to help in the battle against childhood cancer.

The supergroup took to the stage at Ronnie Scott’s club in London for a dazzling set which rolled back the years.

The evening saw The Who’s Roger Daltrey line up alongside guitar hero Gary Moore and bassist Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. On guitar were Simon Townshend, brother of Who legend Pete, and Russ Ballard.

Zoot Money, Gary Brooker of Procol Harum and Steve Smith were on keyboards, Nick Newall played saxophone and Sam Brown joined Daltrey on vocals, with backing by Margo Buchanan and Aitch McRobbie.

The band was the brainchild of Express Newspapers proprietor Richard Desmond, who fulfilled a lifetime ambition by playing drums alongside the music greats. They blasted out some of the biggest hits from the past 40 years, including Who classics My Generation and Pinball Wizard.

All 250 tickets for the one-off show were snapped up, raising more than £200,000. But that total was more than doubled to £400,000 thanks to a special auction which saw lots selling for as much as £50,000.

Among the items up for sale were two football shirts signed by David Beckham. The shirts - one Manchester United and the other England - sold for £6,000 each.

A guitar owned by blues legend BB King was sold for £17,000, while two rare posters featuring The Who raised £21,000. The most expensive lot was a 1969 guitar which had belonged to Pete Townshend and featured in the Isle of Wight festival.

After frenzied bidding it was eventually sold to collector Martin Travis on behalf of the company Symbolic Collection for £50,000.

The money has been donated to the Teenage Cancer Trust. Its chairman, Dr Adrian Whiteson OBE, said: “This was such a great idea from the outset, and thanks to Richard Desmond and to Roger Daltrey we have raised an enormous amount of money.

Funds raised will go towards the development of new units, so that every teenager with cancer in the UK has access to these excellent facilities.”

•For more information or to make a donation to the Teenage Cancer Trust, call 0207 387 1000 or see www.teencancer.org