THE £45,000 appeal to buy a new York Rescue Boat is gathering pace as friends and relatives of a teenager who drowned in York launch a series of fundraising events.

More than £1,000 has been raised at a bake sale held at a school in Rutland which was attended by 19-year-old Sonny Ferry - one of five people who died in three weeks in York’s rivers last month.

A cousin of Sonny, Kelly Webster, is also planning a fundraising entertainment evening next month in her home town of Hastings.

The appeal was launched by Sonny’s parents Kate and Stephen after he died in the River Foss at the end of a city centre night out. They hope the new boat, equipped with modern sonar and radio communications equipment, will help prevent further such tragedies.

The appeal at has already raised more than £6,000.

Professional cake artist Sarah Cooper-Smith, of Stamford, Lincolnshire, said she contributed a cake with a boat design to the bake sale held last week at Casterton College in Rutland.

She said it was won by one of the teachers, who said he would like it to be sent to rescue boat volunteers.

“Coincidentally my husband and I visit York every year for our anniversary so I said I would personally deliver this cake to boat crews after we came up on Sunday,” she said as she presented the cake to senior operations manager Dave Horn.

Meanwhile, Kelly said ‘Sonny’s Sunshine Fundraiser’ was to be held at Hastings United sports and social club at 7pm on June 15.

“I have a DJ for the night, Britain’s got talent star Rory Jackson as Michael Jackson, a professional photo booth and a guest appearance from Sandra Martin from Goggle Box,” she said.

“I am providing a buffet on the night and a raffle. We have some amazing prizes so far which includes beer festival tickets, 1066 target sports voucher, crazy golf tickets, meat hampers etc.”