TWO of the highlights of Cockermouth’s calendar have had to be cancelled as a result of coronavirus.

There will be no Christmas lights switch on or fireworks display. Thousands of people usually pack into the town centre for each of the events.

Charities, churches, residents and the council come together to run fundraising stalls and lay on lots of entertainment at the much-anticipated lights switch on.

But Cockermouth Town Council this week decided it was best to cancel both events.

At an online meeting, clerk Sheila Brown told councillors: “Road closures have to be submitted months in advance.

“If I tell the fireworks company before September that it’s not going ahead then we will not have to pay.”

The fireworks are usually held on Memorial Gardens.

Councillor Alan Kennon said: “It’s too risky to say this will go ahead. At the moment there are far bigger events being cancelled than fireworks.

“I would rather see it be held next year and avoid any problems.”

It was decided that the lights will be put up as usual but there will not be a specific switch on time, to avoid people congregating in town.

Councillor Alan Tyson said: “I’m against fireworks this year altogether, as they will cost £6,000. We have overspent on the budget with free rents in recent months.”

It was decided that the council should look into how the Remembrance service could be arranged and make a decision at a later date. “I need to speak to everyone who comes, do a risk assessment and see what would work,” said Mrs Brown.

Councillors have been meeting online for the past three months. At the monthly meeting this week it was decided to look into whether future meetings could be held in the town hall with safety measures in place. Councillors felt online meetings had drawbacks and it would be more effective to meet in person.

“You would not be able to sit around the table but I can do a risk assessment,” pledged Mrs Brown.