More than a thousand people of all ages called for York to be a sanctuary for refugees as they marched through the city centre.

They started in a torrential downpour in St Helen's Square and finished in sunshine outside York Minster to hear a series of speeches.

Families, community and faith groups, trade unions, local politicians, activists, and individuals united behind the slogan "York Says Refugees Are Welcome here".

The Lawes of Dunnington brought their children because the refugee crisis had been discussed in the classroom.

Catherine Lawes said: "It's important. There are a lot of people in York think the Government should be taking action, rather than saying 'It is not our problem'."

Some parents carried their small children on their shoulders or in pushchairs and elderly people marched alongside students and young adults. They carried banners, some homemade. One demonstrator had a large Syrian flag, another a large Palestinian flag.

The marchers chanted "Say it loud, Say it clear, Refugees are welcome here" as they marched from St Helen's Square to York Minster via Parliament Street, High Ousegate, Coney Street and Stonegate to the Minster piazza.

At the Minster steps, the marchers heard a series of speeches from asylum seekers, refugees, local refugee services, voluntary organisations, campaigning groups and migration experts.

One of the speakers, Barbara Lodge of the York branch of Amnesty International, said: "It is only marches and social movements that can change Government policy."

Andreas Heinemeyer, a German who moved to Britain was also marching. He said British people were more reluctant to talk about the issue, compared with Germans, as he found out when he was recently in his native country.

"We need to be letting in our neighbours," he said. "This is about people."

Some marchers said that any country could find itself in the same kind of situation as Syria in the future.

York Central MP Rachael Maskell and several city councillors including the Lib Dem deputy council leader, Cllr Keith Aspden and Labour group leader Cllr Dafydd Williams joined the march and rally.

York Minster supported the march and rally and has taken a leading role in plans to bring refugees to the city. The Dean of York, the Very Rev Vivienne Faull, said: "As ever we have had overwhelming support from the local peole of York and our aim now is to ensure we channel people's generosity in to the right places."