One of Dartford’s best-loved and most popular annual events has been cancelled due to coronavirus fears, it was revealed today (September 22).
Dartford Lions Club host a famed Bonfire Night and fireworks display every November, but the escalating coronavirus pandemic has forced the charity’s organisers to cancel the 2020 event.
In a statement posted to their blog, a spokesperson said dialogue with Dartford Council had resulted in the decision, which reflected ongoing fears about the “rising tide” of coronavirus cases this Autumn in London and across the UK more generally.
“With over 40 years of experience running the Dartford Bonfire Night and Fireworks Display in Dartford’s Central Park, sadly this year’s event has been cancelled.
— PHE London region (@PHE_London) September 21, 2020
“Our club members had various discussions with officers from Dartford Borough Council and sadly the decision was taken to cancel the event due to the current Covid19 pandemic,” a later press release clarified.
The charity pointed out the bonfire and fireworks display were typically their most important fundraisers throughout the year and they will now look to other means to make up the expected shortfall.
“The annual Bonfire Night and Fireworks Display is the biggest fundraiser for Dartford Lions Club, this money is then used to support local groups and families within the Dartford Borough,” the statement continued.
Club President, Ragbhir Sandhu, added his thoughts:
“Its a real shame that we have had to make this decision, but given the circumstances we believe its the right one,” he said, reflecting that every option they reviewed that included hosting the event would have contained the possibility of spreading coronavirus further in the community.
“The officers at the Council worked with us at looking into various different options to allow the event to continue, sadly every option available resulted in the possible spread of the Covid19 pandemic.
“Although we are all extremely disappointed with the decision, everyone’s health and safety come first.
“A much bigger concern for us is trying to ensure that the support we offer the local community can continue, sadly this can only be done so by asking the community to donate as much or as little as they can to our club.
“We will do EVERYTHING within our power to ensure the Fireworks Display in 2021 is bigger and better,” Ragbhir added.
Dartford Lions Club undertake a number of charitable efforts in the borough and help other local families and groups out, undertaking work like civic virtue advocacy and poverty relief.
If you’d like to help or are interested in getting involved, click here for more info.