THE new organiser of York Dragon Boat Races has urged people to get behind the event this weekend.

Former chief superintendent John Lacy has announced that he is taking over as President of the Rotary Club of York from the well-known York Estate Agent Nigel Naish.

The rotary club-organised Dragon Boat Race event has already raised £750,000 for charity in the 12 years it has been running and will this year raise cash for the Jack Raine Foundation.

Mr Lacy said: "The Dragon Boat Race is our York Tour de France - it showcases the river. It's attended by hundreds on the river bank and is a great carnival atmosphere. York people have embraced this charity event."

He added about his new appointment: "It is a great honour be the 93rd person to be president of the oldest rotary club in the city and I look forward to ensuring the strong service to the community ethos is maintained and developed.

"Being president is a proud moment for me. In the ten years I have been a member of the Rotary Club of York I have been surrounded by like minded people who in that time have raised close to a million pounds for local and International charities

Whether it has been providing equipment for local youth clubs' helping the homeless or eradicating polio we make a difference."

Thirty six teams in fancy dress will be in action on the river between Scarborough and Lendal Bridges from 10am to 4pm on Sunday.

Teams will battle it out for awards including the fastest charity team, fastest armed services team and best dressed.

The free event includes stalls and activities on Museum Gardens bank.

This year's nominated charity, the Jack Raine Foundation, supports vulnerable children and young people. The charity focuses on early intervention and prevention of child sexual exploitation as well as alternative learning provision and engagement through sport.

For more information about the races, visit