CHARITIES in Swindon could soon be much better off, thanks to a special ball backed by the Adver.

This year's Charity Ball will be held at the Marriott Hotel in Swindon on May 17 and organisers hope to raise £20,000 for local causes.

The majority of the money raised will go towards a minibus for Prospect Hospice, a local palliative care unit, and the rest will be donated to charity Discovering Autistic Spectrum Happiness (DASH), which helps adults with autism and Asperger syndrome.

The event is being sponsored by the Swindon Advertiser, the Rotary Club of Swindon and the Swindon Marriott.

Committee chairman Nigel Henham said: "It is always our great pleasure to go around and see what excellent work charities are doing quietly in our community.

"But it is always extremely difficult to pick the ones to benefit."

Towards the end of last year Mr Henham appealed in the Advertiser for Swindon charities to come forward as prospective candidates for the forthcoming event.

Money raised at the last ball helped eight charities - Family Mediation, Step (10-18 Project), Swindon Carers, Swindon Mind, Study Centre (STFC), Friends of Crowdys Hill School, Koalas and Macmillan Nurses.

Last year's ball at the Marriott saw 210 guests turn up for what proved to be a successful and fun evening.

"Last year we had a Frank Sinatra cabaret and everyone agreed it made for one of the best balls ever," said Mr Henham.

"Each year we try to raise the bar and outdo ourselves.

"We sold out of tickets last year and hope to do so again this time."

There will be plenty to entertain on the night including this year's cabaret - Shirley Bassey tribute act Surely Bassey.

There will also be an auction and a chance to win a diamond ring donated by Deacon's.

Sheryl Crouch, the Advertiser's brand and marketing manager, said: "The Charity Ball is one of the most established fundraising events in the town.

"The different local charities that benefit from the ball each year rely heavily on these types of events to fund projects that they may otherwise be unable to do.

"With over half a million pounds having so far been donated to these causes the Swindon Advertiser is proud to be a continued sponsor of the charity ball."

Tickets will cost £75 and will include dinner and a champagne reception.

They can be purchased from Sheryl at the Swindon Advertiser on 01793 501932 or from Susan Harding on 01793 610222.