A PROPOSAL and charity auction were among the highlights of a Redditch company's summer ball.

The Genuine Gemstone Company, which hosts a Christmas and summer ball for its customers, managed to raise an impressive £16,508 for charity - with money still coming in.

The cash will go toward the Equal World Foundation, a charity whose patron is Sir Richard Branson, which aims to improve the health and education of deprived communities around the world.

The event saw guests bid for prizes including a gem hunting trip to Oregan, VIP Kylie Minogue tickets and a selection of pieces of jewellery.

The evening was made even more special by a proposal.

Unbeknown to the audience, company co-founder and CEO Steve Bennett helped one customer stage a surprise proposal to his long term girlfriend.

Mr Bennett said: “Our annual summer ball is always a great occasion, but this year was even more special with a marriage proposal taking place at the event and I was honoured to be involved in such a special moment.

"We also raised a great amount of money for The Equal World Foundation, making it a great success.

"I really enjoyed this event as it is a wonderful opportunity for me to learn more about our customers. Our customers are at the forefront of our business and it's really important for us to give them the opportunity to join us on our gem expeditions to learn more about our unique business model."