Coronavirus pandemic prompts church to withdraw support for 2020 Wisbech Rose Fair

Another sun-kissed day in Wisbech as day two of the town’s Rose Fair gets underway outside St Peter

Another sun-kissed day in Wisbech as day two of the town’s Rose Fair gets underway outside St Peter and St Paul’s Church. Picture: Harry Rutter / ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A Wisbech church at the heart of Rose Fair says it must “withdraw its contribution” this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A statement from the Rev Canon Matthew Bradbury, the minister of St Peter and St Paul’s, Wisbech, said the parish church will not be involved in Rose Fair this year.

The Rose Fair was due to take place from July 1-4.

He said: “Amid widespread restrictions on public gatherings and the understanding that national safety measures are likely to be in place for many weeks if not months, the St Peter’s Rose Fair committee has decided, with great regret, that it will not be possible for the parish church to offer its contribution to Rose Fair this year.”

Canon Bradbury said the St Peter’s Rose Fair committee chair, Tony Foice-Beard, announced this decision to the Rose Fair Committee today (Sunday) having obtained the views of members by e-mail.

Other main participants and stakeholders, such as the Wisbech Round Table (whose members organise the Saturday parades) and the other town churches. partner organisations “will doubtless be making their own decisions in due course” he said.

Canon Bradbury acknowledged that the withdrawal of the St Peter’s Flower Festival (which takes place in the parish church and its gardens) “may precipitate the withdrawal of other contributors”.

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He said: “This is a matter of huge regret for all of us who share in the work of this wonderful town festival,

“Even if the current restrictions on public gatherings were to be withdrawn in time for the flower festival to take place, the necessary planning and preparation, which is usually by now well in hand, would still not be possible.

“If all is well, we will be back next year, and what a joyful occasion that will be”.

Wisbech Rose Fair has been held annually since its foundation as a church flower festival in 1964 and welcomes many thousand visitors from near and far.

The festival is over four days at the beginning of July each year and offers visitors and townspeople the opportunity to visit flower displays in many of the town’s fine churches, craft market stalls, entertainments and to feast on delicious lunches and teas.

On the Saturday of the festival Wisbech Round Table arranges two parades. The Rose Fair is a major fundraiser for local churches and other charities.