HUNDREDS of guests helped raise thousands of pounds for Keech Cottage Children's Hospice during a glitzy charity summer ball and auction.

More than 440 people enjoyed an evening of fine food, live entertainment and casino tables at the annual Beechwood Park School ball on Saturday.

Now in its 41st year, the ball took place in the private grounds of Markyate School.

Event organiser Wendy Doyle said: "The evening went really well all the guests had a fantastic time and were pleased to raise money for such an important cause in the local area. The auction added a touch of exclusivity and made the evening really special."

Keech Cottage Children's Hospice supports more than 150 families from across Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire who are facing the loss of their child. The children cared for by Keech have been diagnosed with a life-limiting conditions and most are expected to die in childhood.

Mercedes Benz of Harpenden, jewellery designer Christopher Wharton and numerous local businesses supported the evening by donating prizes and experiences to the charity auction.

Beechwood Park School has managed to raise more then £75,000 for the children's hospice, which is based near Luton, over the past six years through a variety of fundraising activities.

Keech Cottage chief executive John Quill, who gave a speech at the ball, said: "The Beechwood Ball is always a spectacular event and this year was no exception.

"The support provided by Beechwood Park School has been fantastic and has significantly contributed towards our fundraising target.

"We have to raise huge amounts of money every year, nearly £2million, to continue running our service for terminally ill children and their families.

"The kind of dedicated support from Beechwood staff, pupils and parents makes a huge difference and we're extremely grateful to everyone involved for their efforts and generosity. I very much hope other schools across the two counties will follow their example to help us support the children and their families who need our service."

The aim at Keech Cottage is to enable families to make the most of the precious time they have left with their child. To find out more about supporting Keech Cottage visit or contact the fundraising office on 01582 497849. For more information on Beechwood Park School go to