A NIGHT of entertainment at one of Southampton’s biggest venues has helped raise £12,000 for charity.

Wessex Heartbeat held its annual variety show at Mayflower Theatre, raising thousands for the charity through donations from the audience.

The show saw a range of performers from Kerry Ellis, star of numerous West End musicals including Wicked, to Britain’s Got Talent star, ventriloquist Gareth Oliver.

Trapeze artist Diego Circus wowed the audience with his balancing skills, and local dance groups, school children and choirs also took to the stage.

There was also an “emotional” piano performance from Southampton man Bobby Ward-Jones just a few months after having major heart surgery.

Bobby collapsed while training with the Territorial Army and his life was saved by a quick-thinking colleague, who performed CPR until paramedics arrived.

He said: “It was a real honour to play at Mayflower Theatre and I’m hoping to do even more for the charity in the coming months.”

The money raised will go towards supporting people like Bobby and their families, as well as Wessex Heartbeat’s preventative work in the community.

John Munro, from the charity, said: “We are absolutely thrilled with how much was raised at the show.

“Having Bobby perform on stage, just a few months after his heart surgery, really brought home the impact heart disease can have and how knowing CPR could save someone’s life.”

Wessex Heartbeat supports the Wessex Cardiac Centre at Southampton General Hospital, as well as the patients who use it and their families.

The charity was set up in 1992 and has since raised more than £16million. Among the major projects it supports is Heartbeat House, the children’s Ocean Ward and the Heartbeat Education Centre, as well as regular funding of leading-edge equipment, clinical education and research.