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'Goosebumps' moment for Sunderland as city wows Tall Ships chiefs

Sunderland has shown its ancient maritime heart still beats strongly as event chiefs admit they are overwhelmed by the city's welcome to the Tall Ships.

Today is the first official day of the Tall Ships Races in Sunderland, with all vessels due to berth by the end of the day and events underway across the city.

Picture by North News

Picture by North News

And as the crowds begin to pour into Sunderland, bosses say they have already been amazed by the response from Wearsiders.

Ben Stuart of Sail Training International, which runs the Tall Ships Races, said he had been overwhelmed by people's response to the Tall Ships in Sunderland.

"I've been to a lot of these events, and I'm very impressed with the way so many people in Sunderland have come forward to volunteer," he said.

"Some places have been more regimented but Sunderland is anything but - everybody has just mucked in to help."

Michelle Daurant, Sunderland project director for the Tall Ships

Michelle Daurant, Sunderland project director for the Tall Ships

Get full coverage from the Tall Ships in Sunderland on our live blog here

Michelle Daurat, director of Tall Ships Sunderland, said the arrival of the vessels in the Wear had been a "goosebump moment".

The Sunderland-born project chief was previously Tall Ships director when the races came to Hartlepool in 2010.

"I took Hartlepool to my heart, but this is extra-special as it's my home town. It's a goosebump moment to see it," she said.

Ben Stewart, race director, Sail Training International

Ben Stewart, race director, Sail Training International

"I went home absolutely shattered after the first day, got into bed and looked on my phone and social media was full of gorgeous pictures of ships which people had taken."

Related: What you need to know about Tall Ships parking in Sunderland