A CRICKLADE dinner group handed over thousands to Swindon charities following a glitzy night out.

The cash - £2,600 – was split equally between Brighter Futures’ radiotherapy appeal and Swindon Women’s Aid. 

The evening event, organised by Cricklade Ladies Dinner, saw speeches from the charities that moved guests to tears.

Held at the Village Hotel on Tewkesbury Way, Swindon, more than 100 guests were treated to a three-course dinner, a belly dancing demonstration, raffle and tombola that consisted of 70 gifts – all of them presented by Cricklade and Swindon businesses. 

Brighter Futures’ radiotherapy appeal was an obvious choice for the evening to support, said Gill Sarjent, one of the dinner’s organisers. 

The hospital appeal needs to raise £2.9 million to equip a new radiotherapy centre at Swindon’s Great Western Hospital. When it is built, the unit will save cancer patients a difficult 70-mile round trip to the Churchill Hospital, Oxford.

Gill, 66, said: “Quite a few of the ladies there that night have had to travel to Oxford for cancer treatment. 

“It seemed to us that cancer was something that would affect a lot of people. 

“The sooner Brighter Futures raise the money the sooner it will benefit all of us. 

“Each of the charities gave a four or five minute presentation. They were very moving, the stories that they had. 

“There were a lot of ladies in tears because it had affected them so much.”

Now in its third year, Cricklade Ladies Dinner have in total raised more than £5,000 for good causes. 

The annual dinners are organised by a committee of women ranging in age from their late 20s to their 60s.

Gill thanked all those businesses that had given their time to support the events and donated tombola and raffle gifts. 

They include car dealership Pebley Beach, who did all the printing for the event.

Gill said: “Cricklade is very much a community place. We like to support local charities.”

Brighter Futures’ Chloe Thomas thanked the Cricklade Ladies for their donation: “Raising £1,300 is a big achievement. We’re hugely thankful.

“It’s fantastic to see groups coming together like this that support the community and offering smaller charities like us to come and speak.”