Published: 13:18, 12 October 2021
| Updated: 15:12, 13 October 2021
A hugely popular community Christmas lights switch-on event has been cancelled for the second year running.
Organisers say it would be reckless to stage the ceremony, which usually attracts hundreds to the market square in Faversham, while the threat of rising Covid cases is in the air.
But the Lights Committee is still promising a spectacular display.
"After lengthy and considerable consideration, the committee has decided to not host a switch-on ceremony this year," said spokesman Nathan Iliffe.
"We know that many will be disappointed that we will miss our switch-on for the second year – we are disappointed as well and this isn’t a decision that the committee have taken lightly.
"But the safety and well-being of our community is our overriding priority.
"At this stage it is impossible to predict the Covid infection rate or the government restrictions that may be in place at the end of November when respiratory disease will be more prevalent.
"The switch on ceremony has always attracted a large crowd to the Market Place and we believe it would be reckless of us to host an event that could lead to transmissions of Covid."
But Mr Iliffe says the committee is preparing to create a full display of lights, rather than last year's reduced one, starting on Saturday, November 27.
"Work is already under way for the 2021 display, and we plan to return with a full display throughout the town centre," he said.
"We still want the Faversham community to be involved and our 'Buy a Bulb' fundraiser, which we cancelled last year, is returning.
"We will be on our stall at Faversham Markets in November where people can find us to support this very popular initiative and the dates will be published on our Facebook page.
"And we plan to be back bigger than ever with a switch-on ceremony in 2022 to celebrate our 40th display."