Organisers of the annual Christmas Tree Festival have reluctantly decided to cancel this year’s edition because of the continuing need for social distancing to limit the spread of the virus.
Many of those who traditonally organise the event, at the town’s St Mary’s Church, are also of an older age which is deemed to be at risk of contracting Covid-19.
A statement released by the Melton Christmas tree planning group reads: “With the regulations as they are at present, we would not be able to accommodate the amount of visitors we would normally expect to see.
“Although things may ease by December, the risk of a second spike will still be with us and we do not feel it would be a responsible decision to hold an event where people come from far and wide.
“With many organisations such as bus companies having to plan so far ahead, it is not feasible to put off this decision.
“Many of our helpers are in the age bracket that is most susceptible to the virus and we do not want to place anybody in a potentially risky situation.
“We are also aware that many of these may not wish to volunteer their services at this time, leaving us short on helpers at all stages of the event.”
The group say, if conditions allow, they would like to decorate the church in a festive fashion over the Christmas period and they hope the festival will be able to held again from the winter of 2021.
More than 1,300 trees were decorated for last year’s event by community groups, businesses, schools, clubs and other organisations and thousands of visitors enjoyed seeing them over the period of the festival.