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Bury Christmas Fayre falls victim to coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 15:13 30 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:50 30 March 2020

The Christmas Fayre in Bury St Edmunds.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Christmas Fayre in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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This year’s Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre has been cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis.

West Suffolk Council announced today the market would not be taking place as it needed to deploy staff who would normally be working on its planning and preparation to concentrate on work to beat the virus.

The council said the decision followed instructions from the Government not to tie up public and emergency services in events so that they can concentrate on prioritising COVID-19 actions.

More than 130,000 visitors are attracted to the Christmas Fayre and the planning work which needs to be carried out now requires a tremendous amount of input from public services.

The council said it was unclear whether despite being so late in the year the event could have been held.

John Griffiths, the leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “We know how popular the fayre is and it is with a heavy heart we have taken this decision.

MORE: Bury Christmas Fayre 2019 hailed as ‘The best yet’

“But in the circumstances, and when you see events like the Olympics being postponed, it is the right one.

“Planning for the Christmas Fayre is a massive task and much has to be planned or booked now.

“Postponing it this year means we and our emergency service partners can continue to concentrate on helping our businesses and communities through this difficult time.

“It also means that we can free up resources to not only help residents and businesses across West Suffolk who are facing hardships now but also in their economic recovery down the road.

“We understand many may be disappointed, but this really is the sensible way forward to ensure we focus on helping our businesses and emergency services to weather the current challenges brought by the pandemic.

“It will also hopefully put us all in a better position, come Christmas, to celebrate and help businesses in Bury St Edmunds and throughout West Suffolk make the most of the festive season.”

Mark Cordell, chief executive of the Our Bury St Edmunds Business Improvement District, said it supported the council.

“The fayre is such an iconic event for the town and brings in so much trade so it is disappointing, but we fully accept and understand the reasons behind the decision,” he said.

“The council has to deploy its resources to deal with this major issue, something which will only benefit all of us.”

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