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Julia Roberts helps keep Paul Newman's Hole In The Wall Gang dream alive

julia roberts, paul newman, hole in the wall, summer camps, children, ill, equal, robert redford, harry connick jr, celebrate, new york, gala, celebrities Enlarge

Julia and Robert, who are both dedicated Hole In The Wall Gang camp supporters, catch up at Monday's event
 Photo: © Getty Images

julia roberts, paul newman, hole in the wall, summer camps, children, ill, equal, robert redford, harry connick jr, celebrate, new york, gala, celebrities Enlarge

The actress favours Harry, who performed at the gala night, with one of her famous smiles
 Photo: © Rex

09 JUNE 2009

Fans of Julia Roberts have been delighted to see the leading lady return to the red carpet this year. Her public appearance this week had nothing to do with the promotional trail however, but rather philanthropy.

On Monday the actress joined stars including Robert Redford and Harry Connick Jr at a special benefit in New York to celebrate the late Paul Newman and his Hole In The Wall Gang camps – residential summer camps set up for children with serious ailments.

Hosted by the late actor's wife of 50 years, Joanne Woodward, the evening featured performances by accomplished pianist Harry, inspired to contribute to an "incredible cause", and Grammy winner James Taylor. Also helping entertain the star-studded audience were some of the children who attend the camps, the first of which was founded by the actor in 1988.

For Julia, the establishing and running of the camps by Paul, who she described after his passing in September as her hero, has been made all the more poignant by motherhood.

Speaking of her long involvement with the camps, which she first began working with 13 years ago, Julia said her volunteer work had been a joy, adding that having three healthy children of her own has made her feel especially blessed.

Named after the gang in Paul's hit film Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, in which he starred with Robert Redford, the camps give children a vacation experience based around the philosophy that everyone is equal. By 2012 there will be over 20 camps in operation around the world.

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