George Michael gave a free concert last night to nurses working in the NHS to thank them for the care they gave his late mother.

Thousands attended the gig at the Roundhouse in Camden, north London, but many more had applied for tickets.

The show was the culmination of his 49-venue tour during which he sang songs from his 25-year career, including Last Christmas and Faith.

Comedienne Catherine Tate introduced the show wearing a nurse's uniform.

Explaining the reason for the concert, Michael said on his site: "Almost ten years ago, during the last week of my mother's life, I told my friends and family that if I ever played my own concerts again, I would make sure to do a free one for NHS nurses.

"The nurses that helped my family at that time were incredible people, and I realised just how undervalued these amazing people are. And so I want to thank them with a Xmas concert."

Celebrity friends who turned up to support the former Wham! star in the audience included the comedians Ricky Gervais and David Walliams and his partner Kenny Goss.

21/12/2006 16:38:46