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Pensthorpe cancels Bird Fair because of coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 12:30 16 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:54 16 March 2020

Deb and Bill Jordan, who own Pensthorpe natural park, pictured promoting this year's Bird Fair which they have sadly now decided to cancel because of the threat of coronavirus. Pic: Archant/Pensthorpe

Deb and Bill Jordan, who own Pensthorpe natural park, pictured promoting this year's Bird Fair which they have sadly now decided to cancel because of the threat of coronavirus. Pic: Archant/Pensthorpe

Organisers of the Pensthorpe Bird and Wildlife Fair in Norfolk have cancelled the event in May because of the threat of coronavirus.

The event, due to be held on Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17, is one of the highlights in the venue's calendar and last year saw one of Britain's best-known wildlife presenters Bill Oddie OBE attend as a guest speaker.

Bill Jordan, owner of Pensthorpe Natural Park, which hosts the event, said: 'It is with regret that we have taken the difficult decision to cancel this year's Bird Fair on account of the COVID-19 situation and the rate at which it is evolving.

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'We have a duty of care to our staff and visitors. As an event which attracts thousands of nature enthusiasts and encourages them to get hands-on with optical equipment, join guided walks and sit in large groups to listen to talks and demonstrations, we feel this is the most appropriate decision to make.

Bill Oddie pictured at Pensthorpe last year. Pic: Pensthorpe/Archant libraryBill Oddie pictured at Pensthorpe last year. Pic: Pensthorpe/Archant library

'We would rather take this pro-active decision now rather than let down visitors, exhibitors, sponsors, speakers and staff at the eleventh hour.

'We will work with our sponsors, exhibitors and speakers to ensure that we return in 2021 with an even bigger and better event.'

Aside from the Bird Fair, Pensthorpe Natural Park, near Fakenham, remains open as usual.

The cancellation comes as more businesses gear up for the effects of coronavirus with some firms losing bookings as a result.

People who have purchased tickets will be contacted and will be given a full refund.

Wildlife presenter and conservationist Mr Oddie, who has presented popular television programmes including Springwatch and Autumnwatch joined Pensthorpe last year together with well-known naturalists Simon King OBE and Mike Dilger, at the Bird Fair which aims to highlight the county's credentials as a birding and wildlife hotspot.

Pensthorpe Natural Park is a 700-acre modern nature reserve and boasts the beautiful River Wensum winding through it. It comprises wetlands, farmland, ancient woodlands, gardens, outdoor/indoor play and one of the largest wildflower meadows in Norfolk. It is home to thousands of bird, plant and wildlife species.

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