FIREWORKS, chequered flags and the voice of Formula 1 commentator Murray Walker welcomed guests to a record-breaking charity ball in Southampton.

More than 260 people helped to raise a record £80,000 for Wessex Heartbeat during its Monte Carlo-themed ball at the De Vere Grand Harbour in Southampton on Saturday night.

Sarah Jane Tyrell, events manager for the support charity for the Wessex Cardiac Centre, said: "It was a wonderful evening. We raised £80,000 for Wessex Heartbeat which is the highest amount of money raised ever at one of our balls.

"The feedback from the guests has been positive and most people have already booked their tickets for the next ball which is great."

Guests enjoyed a sumptuous four-course dinner as well as being given a fake $1,000 to play at the Monte Carlo casino but the highlight of the night was the auction.

Some of the fantastic money-can't-buy auction prizes on offer included dinner for three couples on board HMS Victory which claimed the highest single bid of £10,500, a trip to a diamond factory in Amsterdam which fetched £4,100 and a trip to the Sky television studios.

Echo pictures by Andrew McCargow View all our pictures taken at the ball by clicking here