Knaresborough Lions Club has announced the cancellation of the Great Knaresborough Bed Race 2021 due to ongoing uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Lions have spent the past two months reviewing the feasibility of staging the annual event, however after holding discussions with local authorities in North Yorkshire, the event will be cancelled for the second consecutive year.
Knaresborough Lions Club committee chairman Kevin Lloyd said:
“We said we were looking for a clear horizon, but there is just so much uncertainty around. This is really breaking all our hearts, but we have a responsibility to put first the health and safety of everyone involved.
“We have been on government and NHS websites, and have followed the announcements of other event organisers. The roll-out of the vaccine programme is going very well, but we know that doesn’t answer the key questions about when it will be again safe for crowds to mingle.
“Emergency and first aid services are wholly geared to the pandemic and other serious health needs, and quite rightly so. In discussions with them there is no sign when this is going to change.”
The Knaresborough Lions considered moving the event to a later date, but the fear is that this will cut across other activities during a period when there is no sign that conditions will have changed.
“Bed Race is a massive undertaking for a small town like Knaresborough. In normal times we have over 300 volunteers organising the event, 630 runners and bed riders, hundreds more taking part in the parades and manning charity stalls.
“Then there are the 30,000 people – and more – who come to watch. It is one of the largest and most popular events held on the public roads in the country.
“We need a minimum of four months to organise the event and because of the up-front financial commitments for an event run by volunteers to raise funds for charity, mean the risks are obviously far too great.”
Kevin has said that the Knaresborough Lions will have other events lined up for the year however, including a virtual version of the Bed Race which will take place on the day:
“We will do something on Bed Race day, as we did last year. Probably something online which conforms with social distancing and other rules.
“We haven’t given up with our Beer Festival, scheduled for August, though again we will have to watch the situation. And we will be back with our Santa tour of Knaresborough in back-end of the year.
“Putting on events to raise money for charity and good causes will continue to be our thing. Hopefully, we will all emerge stronger and better after the end of this pandemic.”
The Great Knaresborough Bed Race
The annual Great Knaresborough Bed Race has been held since 1966. It costs about £30,000 to stage, but raises significantly more for charities and community causes, most of which are local.
It is well-known around the world and has inspired other Bed Races in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and throughout Europe.