A replica of the Olympic torch passed through Royston on Monday despite the event it was meant to open being cancelled by health and safety concerns.

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The torch relay was due to kick off the May Fayre, a flagship event for the town’s year of celebration.

Hosted by the Priory Memorial Gardens, it was one of the centrepieces of the Royston 2012: A Year of Celebration calendar, which will see the town mark The Queen’s Jubilee, the Olympics and the 850th anniversary of the founding of The Priory – considered to be the birth of Royston.

Chairman of the 2012 committee, Lindsay Davidson, said: “We’re obviously bitterly disappointed, we are really sad we had worked for 18 months for this May Fayre as it was such a special one.

“We feel very sad and sorry for all the stall holders and the people who planned on coming, it was devastating.

“We are not going to let it spoil the rest of the year, we have a lot more events and you just have to pick yourself up, dust yourself down and carry on going.”

The Royston Runners carried the torch around the town in more than 30 stages - from the Heath Sports Club to the Priory Memorial Gardens where a beacon was lit by Royston MP Oliver Heald.

He said: “It was excellent to be there to receive the torch and light the Royston flame. All those involved in organising this deserve great credit and it was good to see so many runners enjoying the exercise.

“It was a great pity that the May Fayre had to be cancelled, because the weather had made the ground waterlogged.”

Heavy rain forced the cancellation due to fears over children’s safety in the interactive events that were to be held in the Priory Memorial Gardens.

Royston Town Council will not lose any money from the move as the May Fayre Committee raises cash for the event.

The decision to call it off was made after discussions with North Herts District Council which was concerned about the turf on the gardens being damaged by heavy vehicles.

A number of options were considered to keep it going but none were practical nor cost effective. The May Fayre will not be reorganised due to the busy civic schedule caused by the year of celebration.

Royston Town Council revealed last Thursday festivities were called off, just three days before the Bank Holiday event.

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