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Popular local events cancelled for second year running

The Highcliffe Food and Art Festival is on hold until at least 2022
The Highcliffe Food and Art Festival is on hold until at least 2022

ORGANISERS have been cancelling popular annual events for the second year running as pandemic restrictions continue

The Highcliffe Food and Arts Festival and New Milton’s May Fayre have now been put on hold until at least 2022.

And in Boldre the village will again hold online commemoration of over 1,000 crewmembers killed in the sinking of wartime Royal Navy ship HMS Hood.

Uncertainty as to whether there could be more lockdowns later in the year led the Highcliffe festival organisers to decide, as last year, that it should not go ahead in the village centre.

It was planned to take place on Saturday and Sunday 12th and 13th June, and it usually brings dozens of stalls to Lymington Road and the recreation ground, with a range of cuisine, gifts, activities and entertainment.

Festival founder Mary Reader said she and organising committee co-chair Terry Lester made the decision to cancel after discussions with Highcliffe and Walkford Parish Council and BCP Council.

“We do hope that residents and our traders understand the dilemma that we find ourselves in,” Mrs Reader said.

“We would dearly love to be planning our sixth (or seventh!) festival rather than talking about a further postponement to 2022, but we have to take into consideration the health and wellbeing of our committee, visitors and our bank account!”

Although the organisers had discussed the possibility of staging a scaled-down event on just the recreation ground, she felt it would be “irresponsible” to encourage such a gathering before the virus is properly contained.

The cancellation of this year’s Lions Club of New Milton May Fayre was announced by Alan Watson, chair of the group’s organising committee.

A children’s funfair, live entertainment and a craft and artisans market would have been among the attractions on the town’s recreation ground on Saturday 1st May.

Following the cancellation, the town council’s finance and general purposes committee agreed the Lions Club could retain its £500 funding to go towards a potential autumn fayre this year.

The annual service remembering the 1,414 men who lost their lives when HMS Hood was sunk by a shell from German battleship Bismark on 24th May 1941 had been due to take place at St John’s Church in Boldre on 16th May.

But service organiser Nigel Henley announced this would once again instead be an online service, with details on how to view it to be announced at a later date.

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