Elton John has begun the new year by calling on Brits to donate to his AIDS charity.
The Rocket Man hitmaker teamed up with editors at London's Evening Standard newspaper for their Christmas appeal – donations to which will be passed on to his Elton John AIDS Foundation to fund projects in six cities.
Elton, 71, penned an article in Wednesday's edition of the paper, asking readers to keep donating throughout January to help him eradicate the deadly infection.
"We have the knowledge and the drugs to stop this disease: no more need die or be infected, and yet the epidemic grows," the music legend wrote. "Thousands of Londoners have already donated to the Evening Standard's "Make the World AIDSfree" Christmas appeal. Their support will fund HIV programmes in six cities across the world: programmes that will be the difference between life with dignity or death without it for those living with HIV."
He thanked those who have already donated "from the bottom of my heart" and added: "We still have a month to go and we need your help. If you can, please donate and start your year by saving a life."
The star went on to explain how one man from Atlanta, Georgia called Andrew Williams was diagnosed with the HIV virus, the precursor to AIDS, but had his life transformed by new treatment that suppresses the infection so patients stay healthy and are not contagious.
However, he stressed that his charity had not been able to reach others with the disease in time and outlined how the donations, which will be matched up to $2.5 million by U.K. government ministers, will help treat similar patients in future.
Leaders from the six cities helped by Elton's foundation, Atlanta, London, Nairobi, Maputo, Delhi and Kiev, will join him in London for an AIDS forum later this month.