THIS year's Downton Cuckoo Fair has been cancelled due to coronavirus.

The event had been due to take place on Saturday, May 2.

A statement from the event's organisers said: "We are so sorry to have to announce that the Downton Cuckoo Fair 2020 will have to be cancelled.

"We’re sure this will come as no surprise, in the light of the new government measures announced recently regarding coronavirus (COVID-19), but this was not a course of action we hoped to take. In times of such unprecedented uncertainty this is now our only viable option.

"We can assure you that we have not taken this decision lightly. We have two NHS paramedics on our committee, so we have probably been more informed and up to speed in relation to guidance on this pandemic than most. We would like to thank them for the time they have contributed to the organisation of Fair this year, in such difficult and extraordinary circumstances and wish them and their colleagues well in all the work they have yet to come in their day jobs.

"We would like to extend our sincere apologies to the people who have already made arrangements to attend the fair and to let you know that we wanted to make a firm decision with as much notice as possible.

"The cancellation of this year’s fair will no doubt come as a terrible blow to all those local organisations, groups and societies for whom the Fair is the single biggest fundraising opportunity of the year. We are mindful that there will inevitably be severe financial implications as a result of this cancellation – not just for us, but also the fair’s contractors, traders, local landowners and our village community."

It added: "We were so looking forward to welcoming you all to the fair with some fantastic new bands and entertainers as well as 40 new stalls for you to have enjoyed. Again, we’re so sorry that this decision has been taken out of our hands. But we look forward to welcoming you back to Downton next year and until then, we hope you all stay well and look after each other."

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