CLOSE to 1,500 skaters descended on the Winter Wonderland ice rink yesterday. 

The event opened on Friday night at the Designer Outlet, York, with the preview evening, where over 600 people attended and welcomed local hero Elliot Bond to switch on their Christmas lights.

Elliot Bond, eight, from Copmanthorpe - who is planning to run from York to Selby to raise money for other children who are on the children's ward on York Hospital - was on hand to switch on the Christmas Lights after the Town Crier had declared the outdoor ice rink open.

He also invited his friend William, a little boy from the children’s ward, along with all his extended family to support him. 

The event also welcomed one of the top skating competitors in the country to perform a festive routine. 

The award-winning ‘Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland’, York’s favourite festive event, officially opens to the public today - and is celebrating its 15 years in the city and its 10 at the centre.

The Wonderland includes the 975 square metre Ice Factor, the North of England’s largest outdoor ice rink with a 30ft high sparkling Christmas tree as its centrepiece, surrounded by illuminated trees, log cabins, rinkside cafe and a viewing platform.

The vintage funfair features rides from the golden era of fairgrounds.

Organisers said that children can also enjoy the speed aboard the 1936 Speedway, the 1937 Brooklands Dodgems or the stunning 1930s Chair-o-Plane.

It added that guests will be welcomed throughout tomorrow by a Christmas parade featuring marching toy soldiers, and the centre will be giving out Christmas Crackers filled with ‘random acts of kindness’ including gift cards, tickets for skating, grotto and fairground tokens.