A YORK family has donated £500 to the York Rescue Boat, in the hope it will inspire others to do the same.

David Wardell, who runs the Chowdene camping and caravan site with his family, said they felt strongly that something needed to be done to help prevent further tragedies in the city's rivers.

Mr Wardell said he had known a work friend who died in the Ouse in the 1970s, and had seen bodies pulled from the river on a number of occasions since then, so if there was any way to help prevent further deaths, it was worth a try.

He said: "The people who are drowning at the moment are affected by drink, and they are gone in seconds.

"Any death upsets the family, it's terrible, and with the river it could be weeks before the family find out."

Since January, four people have died in the Ouse and the Foss in York, and the York Rescue Boat charity, set up by Dave Benson, wants to raise £35,000 to run a boat on the River Ouse during busy times, to try to prevent people jumping in, but also rescue those who might.

Last week, the charity was given a boost in the shape of a Land Rover by local dealer Armstrong Massey, which will be used first for fundraising, and later to move the boat around, and Mr Wardle said the action of the local business inspired his family to donate.

He said: "We're giving £500 towards the £35,000 target, but if other businesses follow our example, we could have that in a week. Hotels and pubs near the river should be donating something.

"I don't know whether the boat will help or not, because if they are going to go in, they are going to go in, but if it's there, like a lifeboat, it's a good idea. You're better off having something there than nothing at all. Someone's had a good idea, so let's all back them."