The Lynn Mart, which routinely attracts thousands of revellers into the heart of the town, has been cancelled today.
Organisers say the event, which would have taken next month, cannot go ahead because of the coronavirus lockdown which was imposed on Monday.
The news has been confirmed in a joint statement by the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain and West Norfolk Council, following talks this morning.
Charles Barwick, chairman of the guild’s Norwich and Eastern Counties section, said a short time ago: “This is a terrible blow for all our operators, not only because of the impact on their livelihood, but also because the Mart represents the start of our season before operators head off to different parts of the country.
“It has always been a significant and colourful occasion, supported by the local community, with the great and good going on the rides for the opening, and then our children’s days, and special day for children with additional needs.
“We are gutted that we won’t be there to provide some colour and entertainment to the people of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, but hopefully, when things return to some sort of normality, we will return next year.”
The Mart operates under a royal charter which dates back more than 800 years to the reign of King John.
West Norfolk Council deputy leader Elizabeth Nockolds said the event brings the Tuesday Market Place to life each year.
She added: “I am saddened that it cannot take place this year, and I know it will be missed by many.
“I do, however, thank the Showmen for taking the health and well being of their operators and the people of West Norfolk into consideration.
“It is the right thing to do during this lockdown to ensure that everyone does their bit to protect themselves, protect others and protect West Norfolk.
“We look forward to discussing with them, their plans for next year’s Mart and hope to be able to welcome them back to the Tuesday Market Place in February 2022.”
The Mart is the latest major public event to have been scrapped as a result of the pandemic following moves to cancel spectacles including Festival Too, the King’s Lynn Festival and the Sandringham Flower Show last summer and the decision to call off the Royal Norfolk Shows for both 2020 and 2021.
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