Issued by: Visit York
Issue date: 22 November 2019

A record £5000 has been raised for charity as a result of the Great York Ghost Search event which took place throughout the city over the Halloween period.
Extended to a three week season, the family-friendly trail saw 26 illuminated ghost lamps hidden in shop windows across the city which were then auctioned off to raise money for charity – with generous bidders offering over £400 for some of the lamps. York Food Bank, which helps local people with emergency food and support in times of crisis, and Family Holiday Association, who provide struggling families with breaks - have both received over £2500 each as a result of the auction and the sale of 300 ‘mini-ghosts’ in the Visitor Information Centre.    

The search, which was co-ordinated by Make It York and Angus McArthur, owner of The Ghost Merchants on the Shambles, saw a record number of entries by visitors and residents this year and a significant boost to local footfall in the city, welcoming 8% more visitors to the city centre over October half-term compared to the year before. More than 15,000 Great York Ghost Search leaflets were distributed across the city and more than 600 people entered the competition to win the Annual Merlin Pass.

Paul Whiting, Head of Marketing and Communications at Visit York, said: “This is the third time we have run the Great York Ghost Search and each year we find it gets more and more popular with residents and visitors. Our aim is to provide a fun, free activity for families over the Halloween period which gets them exploring areas new areas of the city - and we’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response this year. People love the trail and it’s been great to see the generosity of the bidders of the auction, all proceeds of which are going to help two fabulous causes. ”

‘Taken-over’ by the York Dungeon this year, those who completed the trail and uncovered the names of every ghost hidden in York were also entered into a competition to win a family Annual Merlin Pass - with the winner being announced as Daniel Reid, age 9 from York. Daniel’s mum Susan Reid said “Daniel absolutely loves the Great York Ghost Search and as family we really look forward to hunting for the ghosts every year. Daniel is so excited to win the Annual Merlin Pass and we are planning where we will go with it already – a huge thank you to York Dungeon for this wonderful prize.”

John Kinnear, Head of Programmes at Family Holiday Association said: “The Great York Ghost Search is a fabulous event to be involved with and we are delighted by the generosity of those who have bid for the ghost lamps this year.  The money donated will make a huge difference to the families we help to get much-needed breaks around the county and enjoy life-changing getaways. Thank you to everyone who has supported the event this year.”


Notes to Editors:

Make It York
Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business.  The company’s remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, festivals and events, business support and inward investment.

Visit York is a part of Make It York and is the leisure tourism brand
Under the brand Visit York, Make It York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure visitor and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York.

Key tourism facts:
6.9 million visitors annually, £564 million total visitor spend, supporting 19,000 jobs

For further information or images please contact:

Amy Goodman – Consumer Communications Manager, Make it York
Direct line: 01904 554451

Ana Ignatova – Communications Executive, Make It York
Direct line: 01904 555680