Events cancelled all over Fenland
Events and attractions are being cancelled or postponed across Fenland as the area takes precautions during the coronavirus pandemic.
Amongst the casualties are the annual St George’s Fayre in March, while attractions including Wisbech and Fenland Museum and The Luxe and the Light Cinema in Wisbech have closed their doors.
And forthcoming events including March and District Amateur Operatic Society’s (MADAOS) spring production and a fundraising event next month for Upwell Methodist Church have been postponed.
March’s St George’s Fayre was due to be held on Sunday, April 26.
Organised by Fenland District Council and a committee of volunteers, it usually attracts thousands of people to the town.
Coun Peter Murphy, the council’s cabinet member responsible for events, said: “St George’s Fayre is a highlight in the calendar for many, so it is with deep regret that is has had to be cancelled.
“We realise this will be a great disappointment to the thousands who usually attend, and to our loyal stall holders, but it is necessary in these unprecedented circumstances.”
The council is contacting stallholders, caterers and entertainers to offer the option of transferring their booking to next year’s event, which will be on Sunday, April 25, 2021, or a full refund.
The council will continue to monitor the situation with respect to other council-run events planned.
Public access to Wisbech and Fenland Museum has been stopped until May 5 at the soonest.
All volunteers have also been told to stay away, leaving paid staff only to continue their non-contact work inside the building and online.
Curator Robert Bell said: “We have a duty of care to our volunteers, a number of whom are on the at risk list.
“All volunteers have therefore been told they won’t be working here or on outreach until further notice. It’s regrettable for everyone but volunteers’ safety is paramount.”
Work continues to make the room dedicated to major Victorian donor the Rev Chauncey Hare Townshend and its valuable display accessible once the museum re-opens.
Also continuing is work on the Museum’s two main grant-aided projects: Articles for Change, to do with the Thomas Clarkson abolitionists’ collection; and Sharing Cultures, which works with Fenland’s diverse community, bringing people together.
The two cinemas at Wisbech, The Luxe and the Light Cinema, have gone dark.
The Luxe’s Nathan Smith said: “Following Government’s advice we reluctantly closed to ensure that both the team and our guests were as safe as could be.
“As a cinema at the heart of a community we know how important it is to open our doors to allow people the joy and escapism that film can bring, along with the essential contact that some guests rely upon.
“As soon as it is safe and appropriate to do so, we will be opening our doors once more.
“We are already looking at measures that can be taken to ensure guests can have a trip to the movies as soon as possible.
“The kindness and support my team and I have received from locals is heartening and a real boost at a time that for many is quite a concern, and I am so grateful for that.
The Light Cinema said: “We have had to take the difficult decision to temporarily close.We have had to react quickly to this situation and are currently working through the implications for the business and developing a plan to support our people.
“At the current time, all of our cinema staff at sites remain employed by The Light and we intend to do everything possible to keep it that way.
“We are still waiting for full clarification on the level of support we will receive from Landlords and Government and are working hard to minimise the impact.
“We are grateful for the support of our dedicated teams and fantastic customers.Our thoughts are with everyone who has been impacted by Covid-19.”
MADAOS were due to stage the musical ‘9 to 5’ in April, but chairman Francis Pepper said:“I’m sorry to have to tell you that the performances will not take place. The March Community Centre is unable to host them in the current coronavirus crisis.
“Ticket Source, who arrange booking for MADAOS’s shows, will be in contact with people who have already booked tickets.”
Upwell Methodist Church’s ‘Spring into Spring’, featuring an art exhibition and crafts fair, lunches and an evening variety showon Saturday, April 4, has been postponed.
Sylvie Short, one of the organisers, said: “We are having to postpone. Like everything else, it’s now on hold.”
A number of groups and organisations in Fenland are cancelling their regular get-togethers – some are highlighted in Your Fenland on page 26.
With the situation changing daily, you are advised to check with organisers ahead of events.
More by this authorKeith Drayton