HUNDREDS of people were at the Marriott Hotel on Saturday to enjoy a magical evening at the Charity Ball.

Now in its 26th year, the annual event is organised by the Rotary Club of Swindon, the Adver and the Marriott Hotel to raise money for important local charities and projects.

This year, the ball not only reached but exceeded its £23,000 target, which will go towards supporting seven of the town’s local projects.

Tim Hanley, chairman of the Charity Ball committee, said: “The ball is all for local charities and people really get behind it.

“We always set a target for how much money we want to raise and we reached that so I am very pleased. I don’t know exact figures yet but I know we reached it.”

Entertainment was led by a pair of illusionists from Bristol, followed by music from Locomotion.

Guests, who paid £75 a ticket to attend the evening, enjoyed a meal of parma ham and mozzarella, followed by roast lamb and chocolate top hats.

Tim said: “It was fantastic and the staff at the Marriott worked really hard to make it a special night. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves too.”

Seven charities and projects will benefit from the money raised. The biggest donation will be made to Thamesdown Hydrotherapy Pool Association, which is set to receive £10,000 to help pay for essential structural work, including a new suspended ceiling and roof insulation.

Swindon Interactive Arts Service, which works with adults with learning difficulties providing a number of creative arts classes, will receive £700, £250 of which will go towards a new microphone.

Meanwhile, Swindon Advocacy Movement will receive £2,349 to help set up an internet cafe at its premesis in Regent Circus available to all with learning disabilities.

DASH, Discovering Autism Spectrum Happiness, has also been pledged £3,500 to help pay for seating, equipment and materials for allotment space. The project supports adults with high-functioning autism and Aspergers to use their green fingers.

Those experiencing mental health problems will also benefit, with £2,304 promised to the Friends of TWIGS, an independent charity which supports Therapeutic Work In Gardening Swindon, to help develop their plant sales activity area.

Asthma Relief is also set to receive £1,600, which will go towards providing free nebulisers to people with breathing difficulties.

A final £2,500 is promised to the Swindon Foodbank to help increase the charity’s warehouse capacity and open at least one new distribution point.

Tim said: “Over the years we have managed to raise £669,000 for local charities, and this year we were asked to raise about £22,000, so we set our target at £23,000 and we’ve reached that.”

The ball is one of the most popular events in the charitable calendar, with 200 tickets selling out in November.

Tim said: “We had a great night.The illusionists were great and Locomotion had everyone dancing until two o’clock in the morning.”