GENEROUS guests ensured a charity dinner gave local charities a welcome boost by raising more than £18,000.

The Basingstoke Rotary Club black-tie event attracted 165 visitors to Audleys Wood Hotel on Thursday last week which delivered the cash boost for Ark Cancer Centre Charity, Home-Start North West Hampshire and other locally-based, Rotary-backed charities.

A silent and live auction, raffle, and higher/lower game were all staged which contributed to the fundraising total, the majority of which will go to Ark and Home-Start North West Hampshire.

Ark Cancer Centre Charity is raising £5million towards a local cancer treatment centre earmarked for the Basingstoke hospital site, while Home-Start North West Hampshire provides support to struggling families through a network of highly-trained volunteers across Basingstoke and Deane.

Janette Hewitt, chair of trustees at Home-Start North West Hampshire, spoke to the audience about the work the charity does for families in the borough and appealed for more people to join its army of volunteers.

Ark Cancer Centre Charity trustee Merv Rees gave the audience an update on the progress of Ark’s fundraising campaign – which has now reached £1.8m.

Mark Flower, the driving force behind organising the event, thanked those who had contributed to the event, including fellow Basingstoke Rotarian Bob Jenner OBE, who conducted the live auction, and award-winning Basingstoke singer and Ark Cancer Centre Charity supporter Natasha Watts, who performed a 30-minute set

Mr Flower said: “This was one of the most successful events that Basingstoke Rotary Club has been involved with, and I am delighted that the generous support of those who attended means we have delivered a great result for some very good causes.

“I would like to thank everyone who was involved in making the event happen, and I am particularly grateful to the sponsors, companies, and individuals who donated prizes for the raffle, auctions, or took adverts out in the programme that was kindly produced by Greenhouse Graphics.”