A THRILLING day of racing was held under glorious blue skies as thousands of people enjoyed the hottest weekend of the year at York Racecourse.

The packed day of eight races went ahead in baking temperatures as racegoers lined both sides of the famous racecourse for the Macmillan Charity Raceday.

Since the race day was established in 1971 it has raised more than £7.6 million, with the day being the biggest single fundraising event for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Saturday saw a huge fundraising effort put in place and around 27,0000 visitors to the racecourse helped to raise a record £500,000 on the day.

The day of racing also served up one particularly poignant moment in The Catherine Kinloch Paver Memorial Macmillan Charity Handicap, which was run in memory of York racehorse owner and founder of Pavers Shoes Cathy Paver, who died in March.

The race honoured the legacy of Cathy, who founded York-based Pavers in 1971 with a £200 loan and left behind an international business with 160 shops across three continents.

A prize fund of £100,000 was won by Golden Apollo and jockey James Sullivan for Malton's Tim Easterby.

Mrs Paver's horse Kinloch Pride rode in the seventh race of the day - The Rievaulx Sporting Supporting Macmillan Stakes - in what was an emotional day for all the family.

The final race of the day was dedicated to hardy volunteers who have given up months of their time to get in the saddle for the Best Western Hotels & Macmillan, Ride of their Lives - a nine furlong race around the famous Knavesmire.

Each competitor had pledged at least £3,000 and taken part in six month’s training to take part in the race.

It was eventually won by Belinda Keighley on Buckle Street.

The mum-of-two said she lost nearly three stone to take part and has raised £25,000 for Macmillan after her mum, Kathy, died in 2010 after an 18-year battle with cancer.

The 42-year-old from Luckley, in Gloucestershire, was joined on the winner’s podium by sons, Freddie, nine, and Harry, six, after seeing off a strong finish from Jo Ford aboard Arabian Oasis, with long time leader, Tanawar, holding on to give third place to Catriona Moon.

Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “Thank you to everyone who has supported Macmillan Charity Raceday and made it such a record-breaking success. Macmillan Cancer Support relies on donations to fund our services, which are there to help people living with cancer, so we’re very grateful.”

William Derby, chief executive and clerk of York Racecourse, said: “For Macmillan Charity Raceday to set a new record after 47 years and having now raised over £7,650,000 is a wonderful tribute to the support of so many individuals and organisations.  

"After a week in which we were voted as Best Racecourse in Britain to end it, blessed with glorious weather, top quality racing action and a wonderful atmosphere around the racecourse, as well as that record sum of over £500,000 makes for a memorable chapter in our 2017 season.”

James Brennan, head of marketing and sponsorship at York Racecourse, said: "The most important bit about the day is the people have had fun and through their fantastic efforts have helped raise £500,000 for Macmillan.

"The volunteer riders have certainly earned their spurs and it was a lovely scene after the race."