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Newmarket Soapbox Derby is cancelled

The Newmarket Soapbox Derby, which this year would also have included the British national soapbox final, has been cancelled.

Plans for this year's event, which would have been staged on Moulton Road on Sunday August 30, were already well advanced but, meeting on Monday, town councillors reluctantly agreed it should not go ahead.

The council was set to allocate £10,000 towards the cost of running this year's event but Cllr Sarah Caesar said: "Ticket sales would be low because people aren't going to want to be in crowds and how could you socially distance at an event like this. I think it is wiser to skip a year."

One of the competitors in last year's Newmarket Soapbox Derby negotiates the Moulton Road course
One of the competitors in last year's Newmarket Soapbox Derby negotiates the Moulton Road course

Cllr Julie D'eath said: "We should postpone for a year. We have postponed the Newmarket Food and Drink Festival which would have been held after the soapbox derby. It would be such a shame if after all the effort put in to organise it that it bombed."

And Cllr Tom Kerby added: "We should put it off for a year. People are just going to be sceptical about being in large crowds."

After the meeting deputy mayor, Cllr James Lay, who was in charge of organising the event, said: "We appreciate that the cancellation of the soapbox derby will come as a huge disappointment to many involved, especially after last year’s success. However, no matter how passionate we are about racing, we are also mindful that there are now more significant issues at stake than the staging of the soapbox event.

"We encourage all to adhere to Government requirements on social distancing and hope that by 2021 we can safely enjoy and share the thrill of a soapbox


He thanked sponsors, entrants, and town council staff for their support of the popular event which was set to be bigger and better than last year.

Anyone who has already purchased tickets should contact the town council on 01638 667227 to arrange a refund.

The council has also made the decision to cancel this July's annual town carnival. In a statement it said: "We very much hope that the situation in the UK will have improved significantly by July 4. However, given government social distancing measures, and banning of social gatherings currently in force, it will simply not be possible to plan the event, which ordinarily would have been ongoing over many months.

"This year’s theme was around climate change and entitled Carnival for the Future, a title suggested by the late Cllr Ian Kirk. The good news is that satellite images are showing dramatic drops in air pollution around the globe, offering a silver lining to an otherwise very dark story."

Cllr Julie De’Ath, chairman of the council's leisure services committee, said: "We extend our sincere appreciation to our schools, community groups,

marching bands, business partners, participants, performers, and sponsors, who were primed to celebrate with us.

"Newmarket Carnival is about the community and this spirit will continue as we plan for a spectacular comeback in 2021.”

The Newmarket Carnival 2021 will be held on Saturday July 3.

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