BRITAIN'S biggest charity meeting returns to York Racecourse this weekend to celebrate its half century.

The 50th Macmillan Charity Raceday on Saturday is toasting five decades of fundraising which have raised more than £8million.

It is the second of two racedays in front of 4,000 people due to Covid restrictions.

Regular racegoers will notice a big contrast to previous charity days; the 2019 meeting attracted more than 20,000 people, and raised more than £300,000.

James Brennan, racecourse spokesman, said he hoped Saturday would still raise a six-figure sum, despite the limited crowd.

Supporters will be able to make card payment donations around the course and via a giant QR code on a big screen.

They will also be able to bid for 39 lots in an online auction at, which closes at 5pm on Saturday.

A viewing box at York Racecourse's Music Showcase Weekend featuring Rick Astley on Friday, July 23, is up for grabs, along with a tour of the House of Lords and lunch, a Porsche track day at Silverstone, a three-night opera break in Verona and an eight-course tasting menu at Muse, Tom Aikens' Michelin star restaurant in London.

Macmillan’s single biggest fundraising event features the most famous sprint handicaps for three-year-old horses in Europe.

Racing action starts at 2pm.

The Pavers Foundation Catherine Memorial Sprint Stakes at 3.40pm, with £75,000 of prize money, will be run in memory of Cathy Paver founder of York-based Pavers.

"It is the 50th occasion that we have been able to celebrate the partnership with Macmillan," said James. "It is one of the very first big fundraisers that Macmillan have been able to hold. Like all charities it has suffered from not being able to fundraise. They are delighted to be back.

"We will make a donation to Macmillan out of the day that will reflect where we are with 4,000 people compared to the days when we had 30,000. All being well, it will still be a five-figure donation."

He said proceeds from this year would be ringfenced to be spent in Yorkshire.

The Ride of Their Lives charity race has been postponed until a raceday on Friday, September 24 to give the 12 amateur jockeys time to train and fundraise.

The Mid Summer Raceday tomorrow, Friday, kicks off at 1.45pm with the first race. Owners, annual badge holders, sponsors and those who rolled over their 2020 booking will make up the majority of spectators.

Entry is by advanced ticket bookings only.