Whitby Regatta has been cancelled for the first time since World War Two

Whitby Regatta has become one of the last major events of Yorkshire's summer season to fall victim to the coronavirus crisis.

Friday, 24th April 2020, 10:32 am
Updated Friday, 24th April 2020, 10:33 am
Whitby Regatta

The organisers of the Regatta, which has been held in the town since 1847, announced on Thursday that it would not be held this August.

It's the first cancellation since World War Two, when enemy action in the North Sea rendered racing too dangerous.

Around 20,000 people visit Whitby on Regatta weekend and the announcement comes as a major blow after the town lost the first of the Whitby Goth Weekends, the Fish and Ships Festival and Whitby Folk Festival to the coronavirus.

It is also an important part of Whitby's heritage, being one of the last two surviving Victorian sea regattas that still take place on the north-east coast.

It features yacht and rowing races, a parade, fireworks display and other free entertainment.

The Regatta began with local fishermen racing each other in small cobble boats before yachting was introduced. Competitive rowing was added to the programme in 1872, with many of the original clubs from Whitby and Scarborough still participating today.

A statement from the organisers read: "It is with a great sense of sadness that due to the current Covid-19 pandemic we have decided to postpone Whitby Regatta 2020 to the weekend of August 21-23 2021. This will be the first time since World War Two that the Regatta has not been held.

"We have reached this difficult but unavoidable conclusion for public health and safety reasons, and it includes all of the activities normally held on the West Cliff and East Pier, including the market, funfair, fireworks, parade, Miss Regatta, baby show, Glamorous Grandmother and all other competitions usually held on Crescent Gardens and SPA Green.

"It may still be possible to run the rowing races, depending on government policy on mass gatherings and social distancing, and for this reason the rowing season has been extended into September.

"Subject to future government notification of any relaxations and when life returns closer to normality, it is intended, if viable, to organise a community event for the town with other organisations."