The ongoing coronavirus pandemic means that this year’s Reigate Christmas Fayre will not go ahead, Reigate Business Guild has announced.
Concerns have centred on how to achieve social distancing at the event, which each year sees Church Street packed with crowds enjoying entertainment, browsing stalls and watching the Christmas lights being switched on.
The Fayre has been running for eight years and normally takes place on a Saturday close to the start of December.
The Christmas lights will still decorate the town.
Reigate Business Guild chairman Spencer Copping said: “A great deal of effort had already gone into organising the 2020 Christmas Fayre and it is a great shame to have to cancel the event, but safety must come first.
“The Christmas Fayre welcomes tens of thousands of local residents and visitors to the town and not only shows our true community spirit but also helps to raise vital funds for the town centre Christmas lights.
“We are pleased that the Christmas lights will be better than ever this year, especially with grant funding from Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, and we will be looking at new ways of raising funds with a view to returning in 2021.”
Chairman of the Christmas Fayre project Caroline Clarke said: “After the great success of last year’s Christmas Fayre the committee were on a high.
“In January we were busy making plans for 2020, stalls were being reserved, entertainment booked, road closure was applied for.
“The whole team were working hard behind the scenes everything was coming together.
“Then 23rd March arrived and the country was placed in lockdown.
“Arrangements were ahead of schedule so we thought the fayre would be able to go ahead as planned.
“As time went on and the lockdown was not easing we decided after many sleepless nights and discussions that we had to cancel the fayre for 2020 for the safety of the community.
“I would like to thank the committee for their support in making this very difficult decision.
“But watch this space – plans are in early stages to still light up Reigate.”
Reigate Business Guild was set up in 1991 and has over 120 members, ranging from micro businesses to national companies, and many of whom take stalls at the Christmas Fayre.
Photos by reigate.uk unless otherwise marked