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Popular carnival cancelled amid coronavirus lockdown

PUBLISHED: 12:22 03 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:30 03 May 2020

In 2019, hundreds of people enjoyed the Beccles Carnival weekend which included the Beccles Parade on Sunday. Picture: Kerry Feek

In 2019, hundreds of people enjoyed the Beccles Carnival weekend which included the Beccles Parade on Sunday. Picture: Kerry Feek

Kerry Feek

One of Beccles’ most popular summer events has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2019, hundreds of people enjoyed the Beccles Carnival weekend which included the Beccles Parade on Sunday. Picture: Kerry FeekIn 2019, hundreds of people enjoyed the Beccles Carnival weekend which included the Beccles Parade on Sunday. Picture: Kerry Feek

Beccles Carnival and family fun weekend, which was due to go ahead on August 15-16, will no longer be taking place.

In a statement, organisers said it was the “right decision” to call off the parade, stressing that the safety of visitors, entertainers, volunteers and residents was of “paramount importance”.

They said: “It is with great sadness that the Beccles Carnival organisational crew have decided that we have no alternative but to cancel Beccles Carnival and family fun weekend 2020.

“As many will be aware the carnival organisational crew start planning for the event at least 12 months in advance.

In 2019, hundreds of people enjoyed the Beccles Carnival weekend which included the Beccles Parade on Sunday. Picture: Kerry FeekIn 2019, hundreds of people enjoyed the Beccles Carnival weekend which included the Beccles Parade on Sunday. Picture: Kerry Feek

“Bookings, deposits and balances are due in the coming weeks and months, and we may be required to pay cancellation fees if we delayed the decision any further.

“As there is no guarantee the restriction on travel and gathering of large crowds will be lifted by August, we need to minimise losses to ensure the event carries on for many more years.

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“By taking the decision at this stage, will ensure we have funds remaining to carry forward for 2021.”

They added that all stall holders who paid in advance will be reimbursed in full or may be able to carry their fee forward for next year.

The statement continued: “Beccles Carnival, in various forms, has been running since before the 1900s and only ever not took place during the war years.

“We are thankful for the support received from everyone - locals, holiday makers and businesses alike. We hope you will support and understand our decision and wish to reassure you that we will be bigger and better in 2021.

“In the meantime, crew members are keeping busy planning a virtual carnival and our pumpkin festival in October, which we hope to continue with for 2020.”

The news fulfils a promise made by carnival organisers to make a decision regarding cancellation by May 1.

On March 21, they asked residents to “bear with us during this rapidly changing time” as social distancing restrictions brought the likelihood of the carnival into doubt.

Residents will be saddened by the news, though many users noted on Facebook that they appreciated the decision made by organisers and believed it was a “sensible one”.


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