THE organising committee of Leyland Festival 2020 have reluctantly decided that they have no choice but to cancel this year’s event.

Leyland Festival has been part of South Ribble’s heritage for more than 150 years and attracts more than 8,000 visitors as one of the biggest family days out in the summer calendar. Generations of families have grown up with treasured memories of Leyland Festival, with its legacy continuing to attract the support and involvement of local people, organisations, schools, community groups and more.

A spokesperson explained: “We have been monitoring the situation closely concerning the spread of COVID-19 and as it continues to evolve at pace, we feel morally motivated to cancel this year’s Leyland Festival – an announcement that comes with great sadness.

“This was an extremely difficult decision to make. The health and wellbeing of the public, parade participants, sponsors, stallholders, volunteers, partners and more – together with their loves ones, friends and neighbours – is our primary concern, and we must prioritise the safety of all those who are involved in making Leyland Festival an outstanding annual attraction.

Music In the park

“We know that festival goers who were looking forward to this year’s event will be hugely disappointed, but we feel it is the right decision to make given the circumstances.

“We want to thank everyone that has been involved in the preparations so far as their support is vital to deliver such an iconic annual event and we will continue to call on their support in 2021 and beyond. Leyland Festival will be back in 2021, and with so much time and effort already going into this year’s event, we will retain the same theme of ‘Turn Back Time’ for 2021.

This is a time for us all to come together as a community, to show strength and support for one another, and we urge local residents and those further afield to follow the latest advice from Public Health England.

Leyland’s Music in the Park event, scheduled for the same weekend, has also been called off. “We’re bitterly disappointed and we understand that there will be a lot of people disappointed at this news but we need to consider the health and safety of all those involved as a number one priority.

Please be assured that any tickets already purchased for the event will be refunded and more details about how to do this will be shared very soon.”.