Published: 17:03, 17 October 2020
| Updated: 17:25, 17 October 2020
An annual charity run has had to be called off after organisers arrived at the start to find a Covid-19 testing station had been set up there.
The Island Run was supposed to take place tomorrow on Sheppey with 300 runners set to compete.
The event, which has been a fixture on the Island since the 1970s, is organised by the Rotary Club of Minster On Sea and Sporting Events UK.
The start and finish is in the Beachfields area of Sheerness between the beach and High Street.
When Rotary's Tony Potter arrived there this morning to start work, he says he was stunned to see the Covid station in the way.
Workers told him they would be there for the entire weekend, meaning it would be unsafe to host the run.
Mr Potter has spent the day trying to spread the word that the event had been cancelled.
When asked what went through his mind when he saw the Covid station, he replied: "You probably couldn't publish that."
Sporting Events' director Barry Hopkins says all the necessary paperwork had been done with the council and other parties to get permission for the run to happen.
He speculated that a failure of one department to speak to another was probably the reason for the area being double booked.
In a statement, the organisers said: "This clearly means the event will not happen tomorrow. We realise this is incredibly short notice and we sincerely apologise for this.
"It is extremely important to note we, and the Rotary Club, have followed every due process in getting the event approved by Swale council and all relevant authorities and statutory bodies.
"At no stage was there any communication from any part of the process about the testing station. Your health and safety is our paramount concern and we have been delivering Covid-secure events since August which have all been extremely safe with great feedback. It would not be responsible in any way to go ahead tomorrow."
They will now try and reorganise the event for another weekend in the coming weeks.
Swale council is investigating how the area was doubled booked.
A spokesman said: “The mobile testing unit has been coming to the Island since September to allow people with coronavirus symptoms to book a test.
“When we were asked for possible locations on the Island by our public health partners, we suggested Beach Street car park as it met their criteria.
“We do not set the days the testing takes place, but testing is an important tool in the response to the pandemic, and if we want to stop the spread anyone with symptoms should book a test.”