A MAJOR event in the North’s calendar which attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year has been cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The public usually descends on Crooklands in droves for the annual Westmorland County Show, enjoying a day of livestock judging, food, shopping, vintage vehicle displays and more.

This year’s event was due to take place on September 10 but Christine Knipe, chief executive of the Westmorland County Agricultural Society (WCAS), which organises the show, yesterday announced the management committee had decided to cancel the 2020 edition.

Despite ‘early optimism’ she said rules over social distancing had left the show’s feasibility ‘incredibly uncertain’ and the health and safety of staff, exhibitors and the public remained a priority.

“We fully appreciate this will be a great disappointment to our agricultural community, traders, competitors, members and, of course, the thousands of visitors,” she said. “We are hugely saddened by the decision to cancel this year’s Westmorland County Show and know this will be a great disappointment to so many.

“The show has great financial impact on the entire area and we hope that our visitors, members, exhibitors, traders and contractors understand the tough decision we have had to make and thank them for their support.

“The Westmorland County Show has been going since 1799 and has survived previous years in which a show could not be held, such as the two world wars.”

She said planning for next year’s show had already begun.

Lisa Bennett, WCAS chairwoman, said: “It is heartbreaking for everyone involved that the Westmorland County Show is cancelled this year.”

“However, with the suggestion that social distancing will continue for some time yet, and no firm commitment as to when restrictions on gatherings can be lifted, the society has sadly had to make this extremely difficult decision.”

Ms Knipe said the management committee was ‘working hard to contact all stakeholders personally’ including those who had booked tickets and trade stand space.

She referred the public to the cancellations page at westmorlandshow.co.uk for more information.