More than 900 people from 140 companies enjoyed an “enchanting evening” at the new Waitrose and Partners Garden Party at Dorney Court in Berkshire.

The event, held in aid of industry charity GroceryAid, was hosted by Jennifer Saunders and raised £272,510 on the night. The all new event, designed to “showcase the essence of Waitrose”, took place in a purpose-built marquee which was decorated with flowers, fruit and vegetables.

During the drinks reception guests in the garden challenged one another to giant games of chess, drafts and Jenga before moving inside to enjoy food designed by Waitrose’s executive chef, Jonathon Moore. With more than 170 Waitrose partners in attendance and seven different sponsor bars, networking was enjoyed before Sophie Ellis-Bextor took to the stage to entertain the crowd.

Rupert Thomas, commercial director at Waitrose and Partners, described the event as “a truly memorable garden party with absolutely fabulous food, wine, cocktails, music, colleagues and friends; all coming together to raise much needed money for GroceryAid”.

Rob Collins, managing director of Waitrose and Partners, commented: “We wanted an evening for our suppliers to remember and enjoy that felt ‘distinctly Waitrose’. Based on all the wonderful feedback I have received, the garden party most certainly achieved that. Even more importantly, it raised a fabulous £270,000 for our industry charity, GroceryAid.”