Ottery St Mary’s famous Tar Barrels will not roll this year, organisers of the flaming tradition announced today.
The November 5 festivities have been cancelled, along with the town’s carnival, due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Driving forces behind the events say they had worked to be ready to host them if the pandemic ‘released its hold’ on the nation.
“As a committee we have been working closely with the authorities to ascertain if our events could take place.
“We have ensured that if there was a relaxation in the Government guidelines in relation to Covid-19, if the authorities were happy to assist and if we deemed that we could run the event safely, all of the proprietary work to run the event was done.
“We have been busy organising insurance and funding, as previously reported, so we were ready and just waiting to see if the pandemic released its hold on us.
“The police have been very supportive and advised on different options as to how we could run the events.
“Having considered the options we believe that we would not be able to run any event without creating a mass gathering.
“Health and safety is paramount in everything that we as an organisation do and running our events would put our community and spectators at risk and would contravene the current Government guidelines.
“The police still believe that some people will turn up on the 5th November thinking that the event will still go ahead. To that end you may see an increased police presence in Ottery to deal with any disgruntled individuals.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the authorities who assist us every year in organising our events and we look forward to working with them in organising for 2021.
“A special note of thanks to Ottery Town Council who once again stepped up to the mark.”