YOUNGSTERS from across Yorkshire have helped plant more than 400 trees on the banks of the Ouse.

As part of Interfaith Week, young people from Muslim, Baha'i, Latter Day Saints, and Christian youth groups got together on Saturday morning to plant the new trees on the wetland behind St Barnabas' School off Leeman Road.

York Interfaith Week's Mark Cosens said the idea had sprung out of a symbolic "interfaith" tree planted at York St John University last year.

He added: "Last year we planted the tree to symbolise us all being branches of one family, even though we are of different faiths. It was also expressing a common concern for the environment.

"We thought the symbolic tree was great, but we wanted to get a whole load of young people together to plant a lot more trees."

The organisers worked with York council to find a suitable site, tree planting charity Treemendous, the Woodland Trust who donated the trees, and several different youth groups. On Saturday they were joined by York's Lord Mayor Cllr Sonja Crisp, and the civic party.

The work came to a head on Saturday when around 90 people got together to plant the thorn, rowan and birch trees - species particularly suitable for the wetland area.

Among the groups was the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) who travelled from Sheffield with a party of 40, some as young as eight years old, to join in.

Shahzad Ahmad, regional general secretary AMYA for Yorkshire, said: “Despite the cold weather we had a pleasant and friendly session with members of York interfaith and we wish to continue working with each other to promote peace and harmony among the communities.”

Mark added: "It was really well organised and only took us around an hour and a half to plant 400 trees and a bit of a demonstration."

It was also a great opportunity for the young people to work with and get to know people of other faiths, he added.

"We wanted to get the young people mixing with people the don't already know, so we asked them to all introduce themselves to someone they didn't know."

As well as the 400 trees planted, the groups donated 20 to St Barnabus School.