LEADERS across Romsey have reacted to Beggars Fair being cancelled for the second time amid coronavirus fears.

The summer event was scheduled to happen on July 10, but was called off on Tuesday night in a committee Zoom meeting.

Community leaders were disappointed the festival has been scrapped for this year, but believe it is the right call.

Borough and town councillor Nik Daas said: "Beggars Fair is a regional event that attracts so many people from different parts of the south.

"To have that movement of people in the summer is too close to the current situation we are in now and, at the end of the day, we have to put safety first."

Nik Daas

Nik Daas

While Mayor of Romsey, Cllr Janet Burnage, said it is a shame the event had to be delayed by another year as Covid continues to cling onto our lives.

She said: "I am not surprised it's happened, but it is a shame these things are being cancelled because of Covid.

"It is sad Covid is again causing problems this year, but I am pleased the committee is being cautious."

Janet Burnage

Janet Burnage

Social media manager for Beggars Fair, Nigel Barlow, believed it was inevitable the annual event would be cancelled.

He said: "It is really sad we had to cancel it, but I think the writing has been on the wall for a while now.

"I have seen on social media people saying 'if this will go ahead', so I think a lot of people will not be that surprised that it had to be cancelled."

Nigel stressed the event would have been a "nightmare" to organise, due to the committee not knowing what coronavirus restrictions will be in place in July and how far the vaccine rollout would have progressed by then.

He explained: "We decided at our committee meeting on Tuesday night that, all in all, it is probably not worthwhile doing, because we have no idea what the Government restrictions will be by then.

"We assume social distancing will be in place in the summer and we don't know how many people would have been vaccinated by then, so organising it would have been an absolute nightmare."

Nigel, who lives in Romsey, added pulling together the fair takes months and "by the end of March or early April" the committee has to start spending money on the event.

Residents enjoying Beggars Fair, pictures by Paul Meseg

Residents enjoying Beggars Fair, pictures by Paul Meseg

However, party-goers may still be able to enjoy some entertainment with virtual performances from bands, but this has not been confirmed.

Nigel said: "We will try to organise virtual performances, so we will see what bands will be up for it."

Separately, questions are being asked about whether The Romsey Festival will still go-ahead after it was postponed from July 2020 due to the virus.

The event, which is held every three years, could still run from Friday, July 2 to Sunday, July 18, according to the festival's website.

Festival chair, Liz Wagner, revealed the committee hopes to come to a decision by Easter after reviewing the Government's roadmap that is set to be released on February 22.

Last year, Beggars Fair was scheduled to take place on July 11 and has been running since 1993.

The Romsey Festival should have run from July 4 to July 19 2020 and began in 1993.