THOUSANDS of people packed the grounds of a castle to raise money for charity.

More than 9,500 attended Highclere Castle for the 14th annual Battle Proms open air picnic concert on Saturday night, enjoying a choreographed Spitfire display to the dramatic Jupiter by Holst, performed by the New English Concert Orchestra and conducted by Douglas Coombes.

Each year the concert raises funds for Combat Stress, the Veterans’ Mental Health Charity, which specialises in helping veterans of the Armed Forces and merchant navy with psychological injuries caused through service to their country.

And this year more than £7,755 was raised by the audience.

Ellie Hall, of Combat Stress, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Battle Proms again and to date have raised over £185,750 at various concerts over the years.

“We would like to offer our sincere thanks to the generous Highclere Castle battle prommers, many of whom attend year-on-year and never fail to surprise us with their generosity.”

The full programme of classical music included the Battle Proms signature piece – Beethoven’s Battle Symphony – performed as he intended with the full complement of 193 live firing cannons providing a thunderous percussion.

This year the mounted skill-at-arms display by an expert cavalry troop was carried out in First World War regalia to mark the 100th anniversary, which was just one of many elements in the 2014 programme that paid homage to the important historical anniversary.