Castmembers including Hugh Bonneville, Jim Carter, Allen Leech, Rob James-Collier, Sophie MCShera and Joanne Froggatt joined the show's creator Julian Fellowes to host the gala dinner at the city's Landmark hotel on Wednesday night (24Jun15).

Bonneville, who plays Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, in the hit show, says, "It's a great honour for us at Downton Abbey... to celebrate something that is a wonderful initiative, the Special Olympics, and inspiring people who might not otherwise get the chance to take part in sport... It's a great thing to support so we're very proud to be here and be part of it."

Proceeds from the event will help the athletes with intellectual disabilities who are heading to the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles next month (Jul15).