ONE year and 32,500 revolutions later - the Yorkshire Wheel has celebrated its first birthday.

Dominating the York skyline, the Norwich Union Yorkshire Wheel proved an instant hit with tourists when it was introduced last year and has offered visitors a new experience in a city perhaps best known for Vikings and the Minster.

Gillian Cruddas, chief executive of York Tourism Bureau, said the wheel has definitely helped to attract more cash into the city.

She said: "The Yorkshire Wheel has been a massive success. It adds a new dimension to York's tourism offer as it is something completely different and has far reaching appeal.

"It is a great hook for bringing in new visitors, boosting revenue for the local economy and offering visitors yet another good reason to book a short break in York."

In addition, it has proved to be a huge success for the National Railway Museum which it stands next to. In the year since the £3 million wheel has been in York the amount of visitors to the museum has soared.

Judith Whitaker, head of commercial development for the museum, said the wheel would be in York for another two years and - if successful - perhaps longer. This means it will have revolved a total of almost 100,000 times if it leaves the city in two years' time.

So far it has spun for a combined total of 2,189 hours since it was erected, with 25 rides a day making an estimated 32,500 revolutions - including events, daily rides and test runs.

As reported in The Press, the National Railway Museum will celebrate the wheel's birthday by hosting a huge version of the Wheel Of Fortune at the attraction.

But that is just one of several quirky ideas involving the wheel. Others have included:

* On Valentine's Day those looking for love went speed dating in the pods.

* At Christmas a large man in red sporting a white beard was seen abseiling down the wheel.

* This Easter, a huge egg hunt took place from within the pods themselves.

There have also been several proposals of marriage, no doubt from suitors overcome by the romance and spectacle of the views of York.

In October, Lee Goodwin and Sarah Carling exchanged vows in one of the wheel's 42 pods, while friends and family listened to the ceremony via a two-way audio link.