Royston Kite Festival decision 'under review' as lockdown extended

The 25th charity kite festival was held in Royston at the weekend. Picture: Ray Munden

A previous Royston Kite Festival - the decision on whether the event will take place is under review - Credit: Archant

Royston's Kite Festival could be cancelled for a second year, as organisers are reviewing their decision to go ahead with the popular event.

The Rotary Club of Royston members told the Crow this evening they are considering cancelling  this year’s kite festival on August 1, following the Government announcement that COVID restrictions will continue at least until July 19.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that the lockdown extension is due to the rise of the Delta variant of the coronavirus - which originated in India.

Royston Rotary president Martin Berry said “if all the restriction are lifted on July 19 - two weeks before it is due to take place, - the Royston Kite Festival could go ahead as planned, but we just don’t know if they will be.”

He said if the event had to be cancelled late in the day, the rotary blub would lose money.

“And we can’t risk doing that - this is a fundraising event for charity, not a commercial operation,” he said.

Organisers had expected to attract thousands of visitors to Therfield Heath, following more than a year of lockdowns and social distancing.

The festival was due to feature a huge variety of kites flown by professional teams, as well as many other attractions. These were a historic vehicle show, fairground rides, a tombola, a bouncy castle and stalls selling a range of goods and ice cream, food and drink.

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Organiser Stephen Higginbotham, said earlier this year they were "delighted to be back!"

Over the past five events, the festival has raised more than £30,000 for local charities. Stephen chose this year's kite festival charity as Hertfordshire Mind Network, which delivers mental health support across the county from its seven wellbeing centres and other venues.

"They must have had an enormous increase of work due to the pandemic. Many people who would never have dreamt that they would need help have had to turn to them."

The Royston Rotary Club are reviewing their options and expect to make a final decision on whether the festival gets the go-ahead in the next few days.