RAIL passengers travelling through York were given a surprise as a group of “flash mob” singers performed spontaneously.

East Coast trains was behind the fundraiser, which saw York singers jump into action with Christmas carols without first warning anyone on board.

St Michael-le-Belfrey Church in York was contacted by East Coast to take part and was given two weeks to prepare for the surprise on board performance to raise funds for Railway Children, a charity that tackle the problems involved with children running away from home.

Simon Bray, director of music and worship at St Michael’s, said: “We were called a couple of weeks ago to help East Coast out with the singing side of things.

“As a church we want to see the city, and the north of England, transformed with great projects, and raising money for Railway Children is a very good cause.”

Classically-trained singer Edith Kirkwood, 21, from Tang Hall Lane, joined Simon and eight members of staff at East Coast as they blasted out Christmas carols between York and Doncaster.

She said: “It was a great event and the passengers really enjoyed us all singing. The highlight for me was when Simon stood to sing On The 12th Day Of Christmas on his own, and the nervous look on the man sitting next to him. It was such a good event to be involved with.”

Staff from Railway Children were present at the “flash mob”, and charity spokeswoman Suzanne Parsons said: “In the last four years the number of children running away from home has risen dramatically. In Yorkshire alone, more than 9,000 children ran away from home during the last 12 months.

“The event hosted by East Coast has raised funds to help protect children before, during and after they run away.”

Passengers were encouraged to take pictures of the “flash mob” and submit them to the East Coast Twitter account for a chance to win two return first class tickets on any East Coast journey.