ONE of Hampshire’s oldest law firm celebrated its 200th anniversary at the 02 Guildhall in Southampton.

Paris Smith - which has more than 200 staff and offices in the Southampton and Winchester – staged a glamorous gala event which saw a sunny Guildhall Square packed with dinner jackets and posh frocks at a drinks reception prior to a four course banquet inside.

The evening was hosted senior partner Nick Vaughan, managing partner Peter Taylor, and Sarah Parish, actor and co-founder of the firm’s charity partner of the year The Murray Parish Trust.

Guest were treated to music from the last two centuries performed by acapella group the Company of Singers, The Hampshire Police Male Voice Choir, Junco Shakers, The Silver Beatles’ and Folk Junkies.

Senior partner Nick Vaughan showed off his keyboard skills, performing Schubert’s The Trout, written in 1818, the year of the firm’s foundation.

Paris Smith partners, The Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson, civic leaders and figures from the media, the world of business, arts, education and charities dined on guinea fowl and a trio of old English desserts provided by Swanwick-based caterers Vanilla.

Jewellers Laings kindly donated a 0.40 Carat diamond worth £2,500 for a prize draw – the lucky winner turned down the chance of taking the sparkler home and the jewellers a sum equal to its value to the Murray Parish Trust.

Peter Taylor said: “It has truly been a remarkable evening of celebration for the firm and I thank everyone who played a part in making it such a success, from the entertainment to the food and beyond. It has been a privilege to share the history of Paris Smith, a chance to thank all who have worked with us and an opportunity to share all that is great about our region.”