A NUMBER of local charities will receive a boost after Swindon Rotary Club’s 30th Charity Ball went off in style.

Around 140 guests congregated at the Marriott Hotel for a Shanghai Nights-themed evening on Saturday to raise money for local causes.

Robert Gillespie, the Rotary Club’s Charity Ball chairman, said: “It was a fantastic evening. I think the event went exceptionally well and everyone appeared to be having a very good time.”

Beneficiaries of the evening include Swindon 10-18 project, The Harbour Project, Hreod Burna Urban Forest, Swindon & District Samaritans, Wiltshire Search and Rescue, Friends of TWIGS, Big Breakfast Plus and 12th Swindon Scout Group.

“We’ve got a whole lot of really good charitable causes we support each year,” said Mr Gillespie.

The chairman was reluctant to give a ballpark figure of the total raised on Saturday, but was very happy with how the evening went.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ve raised enough to cover all our commitments to the various different charities, so we’re very happy.”

An oriental meal was provided to guests as well as various auctions, raffles and draws for guests to win prizes from.

“The food was fantastic and the décor was amazing,” said Mr Gillespie. “The Marriott had put on a fantastically atmospheric room, with lanterns, Chinese writing, and even Yasui envelopes.”

The black-tie event has raised £8470,000 over the last 30 years since the club started fundraising in 1989, with this year’s fundraising still to be totalled.

Backed by Newsquest Media Group, the charity ball is known to be one of the biggest fundraisers in the county. Over the years, the ball has supported more than 50 organisations.

The Deacons Diamond Draw was a highlight of the evening. A £4,000, 18c white gold claw set snowflake diamond cluster ring, donated by the Old Town jeweller, could be won from a ticket costing £20.

“The ring was very well bid for, so we’re very hopeful that we’re raised a good deal for local charities,” said Mr Gillespie.

Prizes from the evening’s auction included a hot air balloon flight for two, two-night stays in Mallorca, Venice and Monaco and afternoon tea at Rockley Manor. A silent auction offered a helicopter ride, tickets to the ballet, a signed David Beckham shirt and various overnight stays, among other prizes.

Additional mid-meal entertainment included Yasui envelopes containing £10 and £20 draws to win a range of smaller treats.

Entertainment included dancers from The Judith Hockaday School of Dance, fan dancing, mask changing and magic, circus contortion and music from 24/7.

“We were thrilled with the attendance and the Marriott and all they were able to do for us and we are looking forward to next year’s event,” added Mr Gillespie.