Residents criticise 'unnecessary' decision to cancel kite festival

Royston's annual kite festival is set to return this summer

Royston's kite festival has been cancelled for the second year running - Credit: Royston Rotary Club

Royston's annual kite festival has been cancelled for the second year running, with many residents arguing that the decision was unnecessary.

The event, organised by the Rotary Club of Royston, was due to take place on August 1.

When the government announced that restrictions on large gatherings would continue until July 19, instead of June 21 as originally planned, the club became concerned that restrictions could be extended even further.

Crow readers on Facebook were quick to point out that large-scale events such as football matches are still going ahead despite the lockdown extension.

Suzanne Gregory added: "So football is OK but kite festival cancelled. Can't understand the reasoning behind this."

Reader Tom Allen described cancelling the festival as "complete, unnecessary nonsense". He said: "Children like mine who are two and three are missing out and whoever is in charge of this is giving into fear."

While many disagreed with the decision, others nonetheless expressed sympathy for event organisers.

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Sarah Wallace said: "If football can happen as it is at the moment I really don't see why other things are cancelled, but just so sad for those who are organising things in these crazy times - I really feel for them."

However some residents agreed with the decision - pointing out that other events have also been cancelled or restricted.

Claire Harrison commented: "Can't see how it can be allowed to go ahead as parents and family members are not allowed to watch their own kids on their sports day."

Rotary Club president Martin Berry said:  "This was a very difficult decision for us. I know that lots of people were really looking forward to another glorious afternoon on the Heath, watching the kites, admiring the classic cars and enjoying the funfair.

"We, too, were looking forward to raising money for our chosen charity this year – The Hertfordshire Mind Network – as well as helping to fund local organisations and individuals through the pandemic.

"Sadly, after the government extended the third phase of the lockdown because of rising cases of the delta variant, we decided, very reluctantly, that we couldn’t go ahead.

“People have asked why we cancelled when football matches with large audiences are taking place. I believe all the matches are fully ticketed, so numbers can be controlled and test and trace implemented. It would have been very difficult for us to do this because we sell tickets at the gate.

“It now seems that all restrictions may have been lifted by August 1, but we couldn’t be sure of that when we had to make what was a very tough decision.

"I would like to thank everyone who sent us messages of support and understanding."

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