TWO thousand Scouts and Guides have marched through York city centre in what is believed to be the country's biggest St George's Day parade.

The youngsters, from 24 troops across York and nearby villages, gathered in the Eye of York near Clifford's Tower at lunchtime today before setting off along Tower Street, Clifford's Street, Spurriergate, Coney Street and Duncombe Place to a service at the Minster.

Traffic was halted and crowds of onlookers, including many proud parents, lined the pavements as the marchers passed by in light rainfall.

The parade was led by the Yorkshire Volunteers Band, with other bands taking part further back in the march, including one from St Chad's in South Bank and the Selby & York Scout & Guide Band.

Parade coordinator Vince Jenner said it was believed to be the largest Scout and Guide parade for St George's Day in the country.

He explained that Saint George was the Patron Saint of Scouts as well as of England.

He said the service at the Minster was conducted by the Reverend Francis Loftus, with York Central MP Rachael Maskell giving a reading.

The Scouts and Guides reassembled after the service to march back through the city, via Davygate and Parliament Street, to the Eye of York.