Derby

Derbyshire's historic Flagg Races cancelled for a third year

Horse racing
Image caption The Flagg Races can attract up to 10,000 spectators

A historical racing event in Derbyshire has been cancelled for a third year, six months before it was due to take place.

The Flagg Races, which can attract up to 10,000 spectators, were cancelled last year because of snow and the previous year due to dry conditions.

Organisers High Peak Hunt said this had cost them up to £15,000 each time.

They said financial issues and a lack of interest from runners and volunteers had forced the race's suspension again.

The Flagg Races began in 1892 and are held over the Easter period.

It is thought to be the country's only remaining, "old-fashioned" steeplechase, point-to-point race.

'Frail' committee issues

The organisers were unavailable for comment but in a statement on their website , they said they were forced to cancel due to the "frailty" among the committee and non-committee volunteers and the likelihood of not attracting enough runners.

It said: "The Flagg Races' management committee has strived to create a profitable and successful point to point meeting over many decades and it is after much discussion, soul searching and consideration that we are suspending the event for 2014.

"The committee is not at full strength and fresh blood does not seem to be available."

Michael Coleman, landlord of the Bull in the Thorn pub in Buxton, said the news was "devastating".

"About 1,000 people pass through the pub on that day - I take on extra staff, the B&B and campsite are full," he said.

"Financially-speaking, I am devastated but for the event, I'm also really disappointed.

"This race has been run for the past 120 years, it's the last one [of its kind] and it brings thousands of people to the area."

The organisers said the cost of staging the event each year was high and the existing funds were insufficient to cover the cost in the event of another last minute abandonment due to the weather.

They said they would now concentrate on re-building the committee and look at ways of attracting more runners in time for the 2015 event.

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