FOR only the second time in forty years Downton Cuckoo Fair will not be going ahead next year.

The Downton Cuckoo Fair Committee said it is with "heavy hearts" that it has taken the decision not to hold the event in 2021 in light of Covid-19. This year's event in May was cancelled.

A statement said there was "too much uncertainty, potential risk, additional complexities, and extra cost for it to be a viable, enjoyable event"

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It added: "We are very aware that the Covid situation and associated guidance will change in the next six months, hopefully for the better, but we would normally be planning, making bookings and outlaying costs now, so needed to make an unambiguous decision based on the current information and guidance.

"More importantly, and at the forefront of our minds, is the welfare of the villagers and people who live locally to Downton, as well as all the volunteers and contractors who make the fair happen. We are particularly mindful of the potential risks from an influx of people and we want everyone to stay safe and well."

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"We know that this will not be welcome news for those groups, organisations and societies for whom the Cuckoo Fair is their annual opportunity to raise significant funds. It will undoubtedly also be a blow to all our wonderful performers and stall holders. We would like to assure you that we didn’t take this decision lightly. A fair with significantly fewer visitors, limited stalls and no entertainment would simply not be one which we are proud to share with you all," the committee said.

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However, the Cuckoo Fair will be helping to bring a "little bit of sparkle" to 2020 by providing the village Christmas tree.

The committee's statement added: "So, in these difficult and uncertain times we also want to bring some cheer to the village where we can and would like to confirm that the Cuckoo Fair will, as ever, be providing Downton with a village Christmas tree.

"We hope this puts a little bit of sparkle in 2020 and very much hope that 2021 is a more optimistic year but more especially we look forward to the prospect of welcoming you all to the best Fair ever in 2022."