CONCERNS over a national spike of coronavirus cases has led organisers of Ledbury's Christmas light switch-on to axe this year's event.

Ledbury follows Ross-on-Wye in cancelling the event, which was due to take place in November, with bosses saying the latest restrictions left them with little choice.

The October Mop Fair has also been cancelled.

Ledbury Town Council and the Rogers family, which organises the fair where farmers sell produce, had been working closely with the local authority and had hoped that it would be possible to bring the fair to Ledbury.

But town council chiefs said the announcement by the Prime Minister where he said gatherings of more than six people will be banned under new measures in England from Monday, 14 September, means that the Fair cannot now go ahead.

The Mayor of Ledbury Councillor Daniel Vesma said: “This news is not what any of us wanted to hear. However, with the national spike in cases, and shifting policy from central government, it is only right that these events be cancelled, and that the businesses and organisations involved be given as much notice as possible.

"The fair is a very popular tradition and a social highlight for many. I must say that I had been hopeful that, with the right procedures in place, we would have been able to let the fair proceed and that the people of Ledbury could decide what was right for their families.

"Ledbury's kids are, from what I've heard, doing a great job of settling back into school; they are working hard and respecting one another's safety. The fair would have been a well-deserved opportunity for them to let off steam and to see some normality.

"I am disappointed for them that this dreadful virus has taken it away.

It is also very sad to see the Christmas lights event be cancelled. Every year, a committed group of volunteers and council staff put in a lot of work to ensure a festive evening is had, and I thank them all again for their time this year."