A Moorlands village will not be hosting a Christmas lights switch-on event this year after organisers deemed the traditional get-together too risky with cases of Covid-19 in the area on the rise. The decision about the Tean event, which had been set to take place this coming weekend, was made at an Events Committee Meeting chaired by Checkley Parish Councillor Alan Hulme on Thursday (November 18) evening.
A Moorlands village will not be hosting a Christmas lights switch-on event this year after organisers deemed the traditional get-together too risky with cases of Covid-19 in the area on the rise.
The decision about the Tean event, which had been set to take place this coming weekend, was made at an Events Committee Meeting chaired by Checkley Parish Councillor Alan Hulme on Thursday (November 18) evening.
The committee is comprised of parish councillors and representatives of community groups such as youth clubs, guides and schools.
When the committee first started planning for the festive event in September, the group underlined the caveat that the switch-on depended on Covid rates within and around the village.
And with the seven-day average Covid case rate per 100,000 in the area currently above the national average, in addition to the issue of being unable to guarantee social distancing along the high street due to being unable to close the main road, the committee decided to cancel this year’s festive extravaganza.
Speaking to the Times & Echo cllr Hulme explained: “We’d rather people miss the Christmas lights and people enjoy Christmas without being ill rather than have the Christmas lights and then be ill for Christmas. We’ve got to be responsible.”
Great Wood Primary School Leader Ben Adamson, who sits on the committee, has helped with the switch-on event in Tean for a number of years.
He gave further insight into the reasoning behind the decision.
Ben said: “We’ve got two primary schools in the area who had a rough time when we returned in September and in the back of my mind I didn’t want to jeopardise family Christmases.
“We had some positive meetings but as we got closer to the event, we started to see we were still above the national average.
“We’re very mindful of keeping our school communities safe.
“We didn’t want an outbreak at this time of year hitting the local schools just as we’re starting nativity rehearsals and school trips to the pantomime and theatres.
“A local outbreak would scupper all of the hard work we’ve done to keep ourselves safe.”
He continued: “At the Tean Christmas lights switch on, we can’t close the roads so we don’t have the facility to endorse the social distancing that you can do when you’ve got a closed street.
“We have very heavily populated people either side of the road, so we made the decision with a very heavy heart.”
Ben added: “I’ve been involved with the events switch on for a long time now, I can remember when it was one man and his dog.
“It’s now turned into this really great event but the local council, and those from other groups who were there, felt it wasn’t safe to put it on and put all of our local community in jeopardy for the Christmas holiday.
“It’s great that Cheadle have got their own lights switch on, it’s lovely to see that they’re able to put theirs on but they have got a different set-up to how we have to host ours.
“We want people to have a family holiday that we missed out on last year.
“We’ll keep our community safer for 2021 and come out bigger, brighter and stronger next year for 2022.”
Regarding the issue of social distancing, Checkley Parish Councillor Bryan Stubbs said: “With it being a small village and the amount of people we get, we haven’t got enough people to make sure people are separated enough.
“We’d be putting everybody at risk and we don’t want children down with Covid over the Christmas period.
“We’ve got to be responsible and show concern for people’s welfare, so we’ve cancelled it.”
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