A GIANT parrot, pirates, magicians and Caribbean music greeted guests at last night's Mayor's Charity Ball in Darlington.

This year's event, hosted by Mayor Roderick Francis, had a Spirit of the Caribbean theme and was staged in the Dolphin Centre.

Guests were entertained by the Casablanca Steel Band, along with sounds of salsa, Latin and chart music from Viva Latino.

The artwork for this year's ball, which appeared on promotional posters, tickets, menus and table plans, was designed by student Sarah Clare. Sarah was one of 35 students from Darlington College of Technology who entered a competition to design the artwork.

Fashion and design student Jomo Noray was also proud to have his Caribbean-themed hat designs on display at the event.

The 31-year-old, who was born in Trinidad, is studying at the college after leaving his New York home to come to Darlington.

Of his designs, he said: "I took my inspiration from carnivals I remember seeing in the Caribbean."