Coronavirus chops down Christmas tree festival

Greig Watson

Reporter, BBC News Online

One of the region's most famous festive events has been called off.

The Melton Christmas Tree Festival, held at St Mary's in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, is thought to be the largest such display in the UK.

Last year saw more than 1,500 trees decorated and about 30,000 people visit the church.

Melton festival
Phil Balding

But coronavirus has meant this year's event has been cancelled.

Organisers called it a "sad decision" but fears over a winter spike in cases, along with many volunteers being in high risk groups, had left them no option.

A statement said: "It is our intention, if conditions allow, to decorate the church in a festive fashion over the Christmas period and we hope you will find the church a welcoming and inspiring place to visit at that time."

The announcement had been made early so organisations and businesses could plan accordingly, they added.

Bath Christmas market cancelled due to Covid-19

Bath Christmas Market 2013
Getty Images

Bath's Christmas market has been cancelled over concerns about the spread of Covid-19.

The market, which attracts thousands of people a year to the city, was due to take place between 28 November and 15 December.

Chief executive of Visit Bath, Kathryn Davis, said: "It is disappointing that we cannot hold the Christmas Market this year, but I hope everyone will understand the reason for this decision and the early notice we are giving.

"We fully understand the value of the Bath Christmas Market to the city, but public safety and preventing the spread of Covid-19 has to come first."

She added there would still be music and entertainment, cultural events and street stalls and all of this would be delivered in a Covid-secure way.

"Our message is that Bath is still open, however Christmas will look a little different this year so we can all enjoy it safely and we hope to be back to normal next year and celebrating the 20th Christmas market.”

Christmas lights switch on cancelled

A turning on of Christmas lights, that normally attracts 6,000 people, has already been cancelled.

Ely Christmas lights
Ian Newstead

A switch-on event was due to take place on 27 November in Ely, Cambridgeshire.

Ian Newstead, the event manager, said the city will still have lights, if they can be put up safely and following guidelines, but a special event will not be held.

"We are going to do an alternative online switch-on event, for those those that can't get out," he said.

"We will find a way."