THE £45,000 appeal to buy a new rescue boat for York’s rivers has raised more than £600 within 24 hours of going online.

The Sunshine Campaign, as it has now been named, has been launched by the family of 19-year-old Sonny Ferry, who drowned during a night out in York earlier this month - one of four people to die in a fortnight in York’s rivers.

The appeal won support yesterday from the mother of another teenager, Jonathan Havron, 18, of Huntington, who drowned in the River Foss just over nine years ago, also at the end of a night out.

Jonathan's mum Joanne Wigmore said the four recent deaths were ‘horrendous’ and she felt strongly that something needed to be done.

“It’s heartbreaking for the family,” she said. “Every single death brings it all back for us, and I so feel for the families who are going through this.

“How many more people have to die?”

Sonny’s family said the campaign was a family effort to cover the cost of a desperately-needed, fully-kitted York Rescue Boat, claiming: "The current boat in use is woefully inadequate.

“If someone is pulled from the river, the boat is not even large enough for the rescue team to perform potentially-lifesaving procedures. The kit on the old boat does not give the volunteer rescuers the best chance of pulling a casualty from the water even if the casualty is just metres from the rescue boat.”

The family said that during a meeting with York Central MP Rachael Maskell and York Rescue Boat volunteers, held at The Press's office last weekend, they had discovered their loss was just one of so many more such tragedies in rivers and waterways in York and across the UK.

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