Scarborough's popular Christmas events are off, including Santa's arrival by boat and Boxing Day football and raft race

Scarborough's popular public Christmas events, including Santa's arrival by boat, have been cancelled this year.

Tuesday, 3rd November 2020, 8:54 am
Updated Tuesday, 3rd November 2020, 8:58 am

The town's oldest custom, the Fishermen and Firemen Boxing Day football match, has also fallen victim to the pandemic.

The popular fundraiser and the accompanying Mile of Pennies and harbour raft race have had to be called off.

Organisers of the event posted on social media: "We just don't have the resources to police the social distancing requirements and do not wish to expose our brilliant volunteers, our world class footballers and all you wonderful supporters to any risk at all.

Santa's arrival in the harbour - but not this year.

"If you normally receive our food vouchers, don't worry, they will still be distributed nearer Christmas as usual."

The events are a major fundraiser for the Fishermen and Firemen charity, which provides much-needed help for the elderly and other vulnerable people during winter.

An online fundraiser has been launched in a bid to cover the money usually collected: see HERE .

Liz Blades, one of the organisers, said: "We're hoping to raise £1,000. That's the minimum we usually raise. Sometimes it's £1,600 or £1,700.

The annual Fishermen vs Firemen match.

"It's with great regret that we've had to cancel but we shall return."

The fund was originally started to help the widows and orphans of the five Scarborough fishermen drowned at sea aboard the Evelyn and Maud.

The football match has been held annually since 1893. It was originally held on Christmas Day and was moved to Boxing Day from 1898.

The raft race

It is understood that the event has only been cancelled previously during wartime.

Matt Newsome, from Scarborough Sub Aqua Club which organises the harbour raft race along with South Bay Traders Association, said: "This was not an easy decision to make as we know how important the event is not only to the charity but also for the entertainment of the public.

"But the safety of the public and the raft crews must always come first, especially with the current global situation."

The annual arrival of Father Christmas via boat into the harbour has also had to be called off this year.

Usually, Santa arrives at the harbour and then makes his way in s procession to Boyes, to take up his place in his grotto there.

Boyes has said the event will not take place but it is still planning a Christmas window display.