A MAGICAL evening which saw the Guildhall transformed into a 'fairytale forest' raised almost £8,000 for charity.

The Enchanted Evening Charity Ball, presented by The Mad Hatters, was the brainchild of Catherine Turness and Claire Wellman.

The pair have both had family members diagnosed with cancer: Claire's father died of chronic myeloid leukaemia and Catherine's brother survived tongue cancer. Proceeds from the event will go to leukaemia and cancer research.

Catherine said: “We are absolutely overwhelmed with the amount we raised and staggered by the generosity of those who kindly supported us both during planning and on the evening.

“We never imagined that we would reach nearly £8,000 – we thought we’d be lucky to reach half that amount. I am very much looking forward to meeting the University of Southampton Cancer Research team and presenting them with the funds.”

Around 180 people turned out on February 1, and were charmed by the fairytale transformation of the Guildhall, with lights, garlands of roses, exotic birdcages, walkways of trees and glowing lanterns.

Heat in the Bapsy Hall rose as guests drew out raffle tickets and bid for the auction prizes, which included a weekend’s yacht charter on the Solent raise £1700, and a private helicopter ride and stay at Chewton Glen go for £900.

Capital Breakfast DJs Gillies and Emily saw the guests through until the early hours with their DJ set.

Ms Wellman said: “There were so many people who made the ball a fantastic success, from the guests who attended to the businesses and individuals who kindly donated prizes for the auction and raffle.”