A FUNDRAISING campaign has been launched in an attempt to kick start an annual festival marking one of North Yorkshire's ancient battles.

Keith Mulhearn plans to hold the first Battle of Fulford festival in September next year to mark its 940th anniversary.

He hopes it will include a living history camp on Fulford Ings, near York, complete with craftsmen and a military re-enactment on part of the battlefield.

Little is known about the battle, which took place on September 20, 1066, only five days before the showdown at Stamford Bridge, and just a few weeks before the decisive clash near Hastings.

What is known is that Harald, King of Norway, invaded England, supported by 300 ships, intent upon the English Crown.

At Fulford, Harald defeated the English in a bloody battle.

Organisers started the campaign to raise £4,000 with an event which included duels between Saxons and Vikings at the Bay Horse pub in Fulford.

Keith said: "I would envisage this being a major festival and going on year after year because it is actually commemorating something, a battle that happened.

"It will bring more tourists to the area by making this battle more important.

"It should happen for the city more than anything else.

"We should be making more of this.

"People should be more aware of why it happened and why it was important."

Keith is working with history re-enactment groups Holderness Vikings, in Hull, the Anglo Saxons, from Greater Manchester and Derby-based group Ancients Alive.

He said: "For a long time this historic event has been overlooked.

"Hopefully, after next year, nobody ever again will say 'Battle of Fulford? Never heard of it.'

"It arguably ranks up there with the big battles and without doubt altered the course of English history."