SWANAGE Carnival has been cancelled for the second year running due to uncertainty over coronavirus restrictions.

Organisers said they have taken the decision with "a heavy heart" because they do not know what social distancing restrictions will remain in place this summer.

The hugely popular carnival week was due to take place between July 31 and August 7 but organisers said they were also concerned about such a huge influx of people to the town.

They said it "does not seem appropriate" to seek sponsorship from people in difficult circumstances.

And there were also fears that the Swanage Carnival, funded and run by volunteers, could lose thousands of pounds.

In a statement released this morning, they said: "We are sad to announce that Swanage Carnival is cancelled for the second year running due to the pandemic.

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"We want to run a safe event that protects the public and our members. We do not know what social distancing restrictions may remain in place during the summer.

"There is still no clear guidance for the staging of mass events and in particular how mitigation measures such as testing or any form of certification to reduce the risk of infection would be implemented or offered for free at outdoor events.

"As there is a significant risk that our event would not be able to run as normal, we have had to consider our potential losses if we planned to go ahead, but were forced to cancel or restrict our event at a later at stage."

The statement went on to say the organisation could not justify losing money due to the hard work of volunteers and generous donations.

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"In addition to this, the influx of people to the town, when there is still such a degree of uncertainly, may understandably be a concern for many.

"It is therefore with a heavy heart that we cancel our event for 2021 and once again we will put all our efforts towards the year ahead."

Plans are already in place for a canrnival in 2022, between July 30 and August 6.

Swanage Carnival is the biggest on the south coast with more than 100 events including air displays, live music, sporting events, games and competitions.

It also includes three firework displays and a spectacular procession. In 2019 organisers donated more than £28,000 to selected organisations .