CHAMPAGNE corks popped and fireworks lit up the sky as the Minster bells heralded the arrival of 2008.

Thousands of revellers partied in the streets outside York's historic cathedral, and as the clocks ticked down the final moments of 2007 boisterous crowds poured out of pubs and clubs to celebrate the New Year.

The tolling of the midnight bells was accompanied by stamping from the crowds and renditions of Auld Lang Syne.

Becky Newman, 24, of York, who has been coming to the Minster for the past three years, said: "I love coming here every year.

"Everyone is friendly and having a good time and there is nowhere else that has this kind of atmosphere."

Some people celebrating the New Year in style were also helping to raise cash for a children's high dependency unit for York Hospital, with bars raising cash for our Guardian Angels appeal.

At Ha Ha in New Street people attended a black and white ball with a twist, as 200 partygoers dressed as penguins, zebras and pandas, and in other suitable costumes, and helped raise £1,000 for the appeal.

Over at Orgasmic in St Martin's Courtyard, behind Coney Street, staff charged revellers an entry fee of £3 and placed buckets on bars for people to donate any loose change. All proceeds went to the appeal.

Manager Lauren Campey said it was hoped the event had raised more than £1,000.

More than 800 people had decided to party inside York Minster for the launch of Hope 08, a national Christian initiative, aimed at getting people to help improve their communities.

Rock band YFriday headed the bill, with York bands The Strides and Gleam Of Dawn also performing.

The emergency services said New Year's Eve had been relatively busy, but had passed without major incidents.

JENNY BELL asked revellers in York for their best moments of 2007, their plans to see the New Year in and their top resolutions for 2008.

Sam Brook, 18, of Earswick, York: What did you enjoy most in 2007?

"I enjoyed finally turning 18 and starting university.

What are your plans for New Year's Eve?

"I am going to as many bars in York as possible until they close, then I'm going to finish the night off at a house party with my friends.

What are your 2008 resolutions?

"To work hard at university and get a girlfriend."

Francis Wormersley, 21, of York city centre What did you enjoy most in 2007?

"I went travelling around Australia for three months, which was a brilliant experience."

What are your plans for tonight?

"My friends and I have started the night at Ha Ha, next we are moving on to 1331 before celebrating the New Year at the Minster."

What are your 2008 resolutions?

"I am hopefully going to travel again - perhaps around Egypt."

Colin Weir, 38, of Middlesbrough, and Laura Sanderson, 26, of Redcar.

What did you enjoy most in 2007?

"We have enjoyed lots of things but we hope 2008 will be even better."

What are your plans for tonight?

"We have been to quite a few pubs - the Golden Slipper, Golden Fleeces, Harpers, and Hole in the Wall, and we will finish the night off at some lively bars."

What are your 2008 resolutions?

"We are hoping to buy a house together in York, and maybe try for a baby."