A HEREFORD couple received the best wedding gift they could have hoped for when their guests helped raise nearly £1,400 for a county charity.

Ash, 35, and Naomi, 28, O'Malley surprised their wedding party with a charity auction at their Homme House reception on June 21.

It followed their marriage at Ashperton Church earlier that day and helped raise funds for St Michael’s Hospice – the main provider of palliative care in the county.

Mr O'Malley, a mechanical design engineer, said: "The auction was held in memory of Naomi’s mum Jayne Priestley who sadly passed away in 2006 and was very fortunate to have received the fantastic care of St. Michael’s Hospice.

"The auction was revealed after the speeches were delivered to our unsuspecting guests. A friend of Naomi’s family had conducted an auction or two before, and was our pre-arranged auctioneer.

"The prior response for donation of prizes was overwhelming. Local businesses, friends, colleagues and suppliers to the wedding donated bespoke jewellery, a spa day, tickets for the London Eye, a flight across Herefordshire in a light aircraft, champagne and glasses, a local cider tour day, mixed gift hampers, a candelabra and flowers, and a family photo shoot to name a few."

And instead of traditional wedding favours, guests were presented with St Michael's Hospice lottery scratch cards.

Each table was provided with a kit of lot sheets, bidding numbers and promise notes as many did not have money on them at the time due to the auction's surprise element.

One table clubbed together and donated £100 out of their pockets while others donated money in the days after the auction as well as some guests rounding up their promised bid.

The newlyweds and their wedding party helped to raise a total of £1,390, with many of the scratch card winners' prize money going unclaimed and remaining with the charity.

"It was a very special moment and was a lovely way of making Jayne part of such a fantastic day," added Mr O'Malley.