When Elton John sang a stunning rendition of 'Circle Of Life' to a group of orphaned children

15 April 2019, 13:31 | Updated: 7 April 2021, 16:31

Elton John performs 'Circle of Life' for orphaned children in Ukraine
Elton John performs 'Circle of Life' for orphaned children in Ukraine. Picture: Getty

By Giorgina Hamilton

A video of Elton John singing to orphaned children in Ukraine has been rediscovered online. The singer performs 'Circle Of Life' and plays the piano for the small group of children when he visited the orphanage in 2009.

Elton John was in Ukraine to highlight the plight of children suffering from HIV and AIDS, and was videoed performing to the children at the Makeyevka Children’s Orphanage in the south of Ukraine.

Situated in the industrial city of Donetsk near the Russian border, Elton and his partner David Furnish were there to bring attention to the plight of the children and the fast growing AIDS/HIV problem in Eastern European the country.

Watch the video below:

Sitting down at the piano - which Elton later donated to the orphanage with the inscription: ‘With my Love, Elton John’ - the star starts to play the opening bars of his hit song 'The Circle Of Life'.

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On the floor beside him are nine children who sway and hold hands in time to the music, joined by Elena Franchuk from AidsAction who founded the first Ukrainian private foundation to address HIV/AIDS in the country.

One viewer of the video commented: "This has to be the most emotional thing i have ever watched on here."

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Elton was bringing attention to the 100,000 orphaned children based in 750 institutions across Ukraine. To donate or find out more visit ChildAid.

Elton John pictured with orphan Lev in 2009
Elton John pictured with orphan Lev in 2009. Picture: Getty

As Elton toured the orphanage in 2009, it is reported he fell in love with a 15-month-old called Lev, however the star and his partner David were left devastated after Ukrainian authorities denied them the opportunity to adopt the child due to civil partnerships being unrecognised in Ukraine.

Despite this setback, Elton's work to help Ukrainian orphans was just beginning.

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The Rocketman star, who started the Elton John AIDS foundation in 1992, continued to help Lev and assisted in helping the boy, his brother Arten and their grandmother move to a safer city of Lviv - on the other side of Ukraine - when conflict threatened their safety in the Donbass region.

As recently as May 2018, Elton and David were back in Kiev as part of an anti-AIDS charity event titled A Day with Elton John.

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Helped by his old contact Elena Pinchuk, David and Elton were once again reunited with Lev, now 11-years-old, and the group were seen happily embracing.

It is reported that the Elton John Foundation has raised over $385 million in the 25 years since the charity was formed.

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Alongside highlighting the plight of AIDS sufferers, Elton also supports a huge number of charities including the Children’s Tumor Foundation, the Race to Erase MS, Riders for Health, the Breast Cancer Research Fund, and the Starkey Hearing Foundation.

In 2017, Elton joined stars including Ed Sheeran and Mark Ronson to launch the 'End The Silence' campaign to help "raise £1.5m for children deprived of love, family and music in orphanages."

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In 2014, Elton raised £300,000 to start the Elton John Sports Fund to help support aspiring young British athletes and he also helped Sporting Chance Clinic which helps current and former athletes with substance abuse problems.