Published: 14:08, 27 May 2021
| Updated: 16:02, 27 May 2021
An annual concert that remembers Royal Marines murdered by the IRA and is attended by 10,000 has been cancelled - days after it was confirmed 30,000 will descend on a nearby town for golf's Open.
It is the second year that the Marines on the Green spectacular in Walmer, Deal, has been called off because of Covid.
Derek Lindars, chairman of Deal Memorial Bandstand trust, which organises the annual show, said: "The Royal Marines Band Service contacted me yesterday, Wednesday, May 26, to inform me that due to the uncertainty relating to any Coronavirus restrictions that may remain in place after June 21, they are unable to perform on the Bandstand this year."
He added: "Although it is regrettable and disappointing, it is a decision that I, the trustees and committee agree with because the safety of the very large audience that comes along to listen and support this tremendous concert is our highest priority.
"Therefore, we now look forward to July 2022 when we will welcome the Band of HM Royal Marines back to Deal on a date to still be confirmed."
It comes as 30,000 people are expected to descend on Sandwich in July for The 149th Open which has been rescheduled at Royal St George's Golf Course.
Walmer Green plays host every year to the concerts in honour of the 11 musicians killed when the IRA detonated its bomb at the barracks of the Royal Marines School of Music in Canada Road on September 22, 1989.
Ten young bandsmen were killed that day and the 11th succumbed to his injuries in the weeks that followed.
Nobody has ever been brought to justice.
The first of the concerts was in June 1991. This was before approval was granted for what is now Deal Memorial Bandstand at the end of that year.
With a raft of public support and donations, work started on August 18, 1992 and the opening concert at the 'living memorial' was on May 2, 1993.
The structure was built with 11 sides, each of which remembers a victim with a plaque.
More recently the concerts have been held on a Sunday every July at the bandstand - usually in glorious sunshine to a crowd of about 10,000 townsfolk and visitors from all over the world.
The concerts are a celebration of the lives lost and the music they made. A section of the day is for the rededication.
And a private ceremony allows loved ones and families to mourn the loss at the site of the bomb, now a memorial garden, on the anniversary every year.
The School of Music left Deal in 1996 on financial viability grounds.
Now based in Portsmouth, the Band Service sends one of the town's two bands, Portsmouth and Collingwood, to Deal each year to perform the concert.
On special occasions, such as the 25th anniversary in 2014, both bands return to Deal and a marching band processes from Jubilee Gates at the South Barracks.
In addition to Marines on the Green, the trust stages a series of free public concerts on the Bandstand between May and September each year.
Mr Lindars and the committee are planning to commence these from August 8. However, the planning is provisional and dependent on any Coronavirus restrictions that remain in place after 21st June.
He said: " At the end of June, we will make our decision in consultation with the bands and we are hopeful that we can safely hold Sunday concerts from that date."
Donations and sponsorship collected at these help keep the bandstand going, paying for maintenance and necessary insurances.
Where concerts are suspended, there is not the same opportunity to collect donations.
To support the bandstand during this time, click here.visit the website dealbandstand.org/about-us/support-us