Andrew Cowles, the civil partner of the late Boyzone star Stephen Gately, made his first public appearance last night since the singer died four weeks ago.

Cowles was at the Stonewall awards, where he collected the Entertainer of the Year award on behalf of the band.

He got the biggest cheers of the night while walking up to the stage to collect the award from host Gok Wan.

Accepting the accolade, he spoke about the band’s choice to feature Gately in a relationship with a man in one of the band’s videos.

He said: “It wasn’t a press thing, wasn’t a marketing thing, it was because the guys loved Stephen so much.”

Cowles also mentioned the public anger over Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir’s article, which called Gately’s death sleazy.

He called the piece “very insensitive” and received a standing ovation when he thanked people for the 22,000 complaints sent to the Press Complaints Commission.