YORKSHIRE Balloon Fiesta has given York lifesavers a major lift after raising almost £45,000 for charity.

John Lowery, who staged the hot air balloon festival over the August bank holiday weekend, said that St Leonard's Hospice, York Rescue Boat and Yorkshire Air Ambulance would each receive £14,896.

The record-breaking event, which attracted more than 60,000 visitors over the four days, charged for entry in a bid to support good causes whose finances have been severely hit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

John said the charities had also raised their own funds at the festival on Knavesmire, and estimated the overall sum raised for each was closer to £20,000.

"We have never charged entry before though anyone under one metre was free. Part of the reason was to raise money for charities that suffered throughout lockdown. These charities were chosen because they are very close to the city. It is something we will do again.

"It was a fantastic success; nearly 65,000 people came. It has to be York's biggest event this year. We were really pleased. We are in talks with City of York Council to keep it in York for next year, on the last weekend of September."

The fiesta featured four mass launches of hot air balloons, with more than 80 flights, along with two hot air balloon night glows, live music by tribute acts, fairground rides and inflatables and stalls from York businesses such as York Gin and Ainsty Ales Brewery, with a fireworks, drone and laser show finale.