HUNDREDS of people watched as the Archbishop of York performed outdoor baptisms in a ceremony in the centre of the city.

A specially-installed pool was set up outside the West End of York Minster, in which Dr John Sentamu held a full-immersion ceremony.

Dr Sentamu, in a floor-length white robe, stood knee-deep in holy water and fully immersed each of the 13 candidates as a public declaration of their Christian faith. Cheers rippled through the crowds as those baptised emerged from the inflatable pool.

The Archbishop heard each candidate tell of their reasons for being baptised before the ceremony.

Ho Wang, 47, of Fishergate, said: “I just wanted to commit myself to Jesus. The experience was one in a million.”

Sarah O’Neil, 21, a student at the University of York, said: “Jesus has done so much for me and I wanted to prove my faith of him. The whole experience was amazing – like nothing I have ever experienced before. It felt amazing and was even better than I had imagined.”

Jonathan Barlow, 13, had travelled from Macclesfield to be baptised, after making the decision last summer. “I really think that the Holy Spirit told me to do this. Jesus is amazing and I cannot wait to spread the word.”

Following the immersion ceremony, ministers from different churches circled the crowds – some 350 people – with cups of holy water to sprinkle on those who wanted to reaffirm their faith.

Held for the fourth-year running, the baptisms are organised by One Voice York – an inter-denominational network of Christian churches in the city. Graham Hutchinson, of One Voice York, said: “These baptisms are a public sign of commitment to a new way of life, so it’s a brave step to take, especially outdoors in a Yorkshire spring.”

Dr Sentamu said: “There were people from all over who came to be baptised as those who newly confessed that Jesus is the Lord of their lives.”