RAIN made way for bright sunshine for the thousands of people who watched the dragon boat races in York.

Thirty-six teams battled it out on the Ouse yesterday in fancy dress ranging from sixties fashion, to Alice in Wonderland-inspired costumes, French chic and men in tea dresses.

While the event got off to a damp start, it quickly brightened up, with thousands of people watching the racing throughout the day.

It is expected that the event will raise some £60,000 for charity.

Elly Fiorentini, annual commentator for the dragon boat races, said: "Every year it never ceases to amaze me how much the teams raise and the stories that drive them. Every year people turn up for dragon boat racing and they have the most fantastic time. I think today there is a real feel good factor and there seems to be more people than ever before."

First place went to The Growlers of Ged Bell and Son butchers, second to Shepherd Slayers and third to Copfootierowers of Copmanthorpe FC. York College won the top prize for best dressed as chosen by Lord Mayor Cllr Ian Gillies after making costumes of different characters from Alice in Wonderland.

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.

Rowers were also able to choose their own charity.

This year's event was headed up by former chief superintendent John Lacy, the new President of the Rotary Club of York, which organises the dragon boat races. Over 12 years, the races have raised £750,000 for charity.