THE Rotary Club’s popular Carols Around the Tree event has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The news had been expected for weeks and the Rotary Club of Lyme Regis made a statement this week, calling off the event due to ongoing social distancing guidelines.
The traditional event has been held in the town for some 60 years and is one of the most popular of the year with both residents and visitors alike, many returning to their hometown to take part ahead of the holiday.
Held just a few days before Christmas, hundreds pack the town centre to sing carols around the Christmas tree at the bottom of Broad Street, with last year’s event attracting record numbers.
The Rotary Club said it was with “great regret” that they had taken the decision to cancel the event, adding: “We are, however, conscious this year of the dangers of such gatherings so have come to the conclusion that cancelling Carols is the sensible thing to do.
“We hope you will understand and support our decision. Wishing you all the very best this Christmas, and keep safe.”
The announcement comes after the Rotary Club cancelled the Lyme Lunge, due to take place on New Year’s Day, earlier this year. The two events are the club’s biggest fundraisers of the year.
However, the Rotary Club intends to continue with its street collections in the days leading up to Christmas and will be accompanied by members of Lyme Regis Town Band playing in Broad Street.
The collection this year will be in aid of Lyme Heartbeat, which oversees and manages 10 defibrillator units in the town and surrounding area, with the aim of increasing 24-hour access to them, increasing awareness on how to use them and perform CPR.
A spokesperson for Rotary said: “A very worthwhile cause relevant to the safeguarding of locals and visitors alike!”
Plans are also underway to stage a socially-distanced drive-in carol service in the car park of the Woodmead Halls ahead of Christmas, although this is not being hosted by the Rotary Club.
For many years The Rotary Club of Lyme Regis has been delighted to support and donate funds to the Lyme Regis Christmas Lights Committee and to the Charmouth lights display.
Rotary Club president Richard Main said: “Lyme has a magnificent display every year, paid for by a hardworking fundraising team and public donations. This year the display team have excelled with one of the best displays for many years which has been recently featured on BBC Spotlight as being one of the outstanding displays in the West Country.
“We are delighted to be able to contribute towards the maintenance and installation of the Lyme Regis and Charmouth Christmas lights, which brighten up our local towns over this festive period.
“Let’s hope the incidence of COVID cases reduce substantially, regionally and nationally and we are able to enjoy Christmas shopping in Lyme Regis and Charmouth under the splendour of these lights.”
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