ORGANISERS of one of Sherborne's biggest events have made the "difficult decision" to cancel Pack Monday.

Pack Monday Fair is one of the UK’s longest-running street fairs, tracing its origin back as far as 1790, and is traditionally held on the first Monday after October 10.

The event, which pulls in traders and thousands of visitors from all over the country, was due to take place on Monday, October 12.

But due to ongoing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and rising positive cases, the organisers have announced Pack Monday will not be taking place. 

Events Crew, in agreement with Sherborne Town Council and Sherborne Castle Estates, made the "difficult decision" to cancel the festival.

A spokesman said: "With the increase in national positive cases and increasing local lockdowns, combined with ever-changing government guidelines, hosting the event this year and without adding any adverse risks to the local population was not possible despite the best efforts of all involved.

"The event pulls in traders and visitors from all over the country and this was one of the main considerations leading to the cancellation."

An array of changes were set to be made to the popular event, including the removal of stalls from parts of Cheap Street to avoid potentially narrow sections and pinch points.

A new location was proposed at Digby Hall including an indoor area and outdoor stalls which incorporated a one-way system and monitored people counts. 

Events Crew was also going to deploy a 'Covid Support Unit' which has individual and crowd scanning temperature technology allowing for rapid mass testing at entry and exit points. 

Brent Mitchell, managing director of Events Crew said: "Every effort has been made this year to hold Pack Monday Fair.

"We have submitted a robust Covid event risk assessment to the local authority and made many changes to allow this event to go ahead, however the increasing number of positive cases throughout the country and locally have meant that it is for the best to cancel the event this year.

"Pack Monday Fair was a huge part of my childhood and I was honoured to take on the role of organiser in 2018. 

"I would like to thank my team at Events Crew who have worked extremely hard to try and make this event happen. 

"Pack Monday has always been a part of the community and a celebration of Sherborne, its history, and its people and anything that jeopardises that is not worth the risk."

Organisers say Pack Monday will "return stronger in 2021" with the music nights and street fair to make it a four-day celebration. 

Events Crew will be in contact with all traders involved and full refunds will be given to traders who have already paid or offered places for 2021.