PLANS to hold a series of free performances in Christchurch to countdown to Christmas and raise money for local charities has been cancelled due to the coronavirus.
The Living Advent Calendar was the idea of local residents and supported by Christchurch Rotary, the town council and BCP Council.
Performers would have put on shows at spots including The Captain’s Club, the Kings Arms pavilion, the bandstand on the Quomps and in Saxon Square during December for 30 minutes each evening.
The chosen charities included Autism Wessex, Macmillan Caring Locally, Christchurch food bank and Bournemouth Hospital Charity.
A spokesperson for the Rotary Club told the A&T: “Sadly, it will not now be possible to run this event under the expected Covid-19 restrictions on social distancing and group activities. It is therefore postponed until December 2021.”
Janet Banks, chair of the Christchurch Living Advent Calendar committee, said that the health and safety of everyone involved, including the performers, volunteers and public, was their primary concern but hoped the situation would be “greatly changed” by December 2021.
The performances idea originated in Stockholm, and today, there are living advent calendars in many towns in Sweden and other countries. The first in UK is thought to have been held in 2011 in Henley-on-Thames.
Mrs Banks said: “Knowing the success of the event, my husband and I thought it could be very suitable for Christchurch and the Rotary Club was quick to come on board.
“We had a very positive response from several venues, performers and charities, and were developing a lovely programme of eight taster sessions for this December, even though the Covid crisis meant that there was insufficient time to organise a full 24-session programme.”