Firstly let me start by apologising to parents and children for the cancellation of this year’s lantern parade, and to everyone who has worked hard over several months to organise the event.
We did not take this decision lightly and it was due to circumstances beyond our control which came to light very recently.
We hope to hold the event next year but on a much smaller and less ambitious scale, and to revert to a mid-week night.
The move to a Friday night came after suggestions that this would make it easier for parents and children to attend. The fact that so many people came might support this notion. On the other hand the size of the turnout not only changed the nature of the event but it also raised questions about how we could hold it safely this year. Road closures, the use of the village green and the Hare and Hounds car park, re-routing buses, bringing in first aiders and paramedics, attendance by police officers, and a number of other arrangements were put in place. A formal risk assessment was carried out by a Health & Safety consultant and his recommendations were implemented.
Use of the village green would have required closure of parts of Vicarage Lane and Savage Lane. Unfortunately this wasn’t achieved. In addition, the owners of the Hare and Hounds rescheduled a major refurbishment to coincide with the Lantern parade and this includes closure of their car park. Consequently much of the space that we needed for people to congregate safely was no longer available.
The task of safely accommodating the anticipated numbers and ensuring safe passage during the parade itself and during dispersal had to be rapidly reassessed. It immediately became clear that a repeat of last year’s attendance could not be accommodated safely in the remaining space as we would have exceeded internationally recognised guidelines for the safe gathering of what is termed “a loose crowd”. Consequently, and with much regret, the event had to be cancelled.
Next year, if we can be confident that the numbers taking part will be manageable, we will revert to the model that has been successful in the past, thereby eliminating the problems which caused this year’s cancellation.
In the meantime if you have any comments or suggestions to make please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chairman, Dore Village Society