MORE than 200 guests ­— including Bob Seely and chief guest of honour, Isle of Wight Lord Lieutenant Susie Sheldon ­— gathered at Gurnard Pines for the annual Diwali function.

Celebrating the Hindu festival of lights, which symbolises the spiritual victory of light over darkness, guests were treated to an evening of Indian culture and cuisine.

Newport's Tamarind and Sandown's Swad Indian Cuisine catered on the night, while DJ Dr Anil provided musical entertainment.

Cllr Ian Ward and Cllr Dave Stewart joined guests on the dancefloor, and Mr Seely wore traditional Indian dress.

Guests at the grand function included many doctors, nurses and staff from St Mary's Hospital, general practitioners from various GP surgeries with their staff, and other members of the public including a large part of the Indian and Asian community living on the Island.

Varied entertainment on the night included semi-classical dance, Bollywood dance and singing, Dandiya-Indian folk dance and freestyle Bollywood DJ-ing, all enhanced by stunning Indian costumes.

Dances were choreographed by Anupama Singh, depicting Indian culture at large, complemented by Bollywood singing from Dr Ramesh Babu and Dr Aneel Thakurdas.

"It was simply fantastic," said organiser, Rajesh Patel.

"It was the best one so far. Guests danced all night long, and spoke of how wonderful the food and entertainment was.

"The event has grown and grown every year ­— we saw 70 guests at the inaugural event, and twelve years on it's now more than 200.

"Our raffle raised more than £400 for the Hampshire and IW Air Ambulance and the Isle of Wight Radio Christmas Toy Appeal.

"We're already beginning to plan for next year, and Cllr Ward and Cllr Stewart said they will dress for the occasion."