It was ritzy, glitzy and glamorous ... and that was just the men.

Saturday's Cocktail Lounge event at Heritage House was a classy affair, styled on 1950s high society, and a good excuse for people to get dressed up to the nines.

At first look, there was something slightly incongruous about an upmarket "do" where bottles of spirit, prints and other items were auctioned off for upwards of $1000, and the cause it was raising much-needed funds for - Women's Refuge.

The refuge is, of course, more readily associated with the poor, the desperate, the harsher side of the social spectrum ...

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But, as Women's Refuge Whanganui chairwoman Paula Wade reminded the guests, the domestic violence and abuse which the refuge deals with on a daily basis is no respecter of social position. It cuts across all strata and it places a heavy demand on those seeking to mitigate its effects.

The numbers are sobering. The Whanganui refuge handled 2225 cases last year; it was funded by its national body for just 49. All of us present on Saturday could do the maths, and got some sense of the gaping financial hole which Ms Wade and her energetic fundraising committee have to grapple with.

They have learned one simple, but effective trick - if you give people a great night out, they will more readily open their wallets and purses. And the Cocktail Lounge - following on from last year's benchmark-setting Great Ball - was certainly a great night out.

Another trick is how to top it next year - we shall wait with anticipation for that as Ms Wade and her team re-focus on the serious business of raising money.

As she said: "There is still a task ahead of us."