Organisers of Whitby Regatta desperately seeking guidance from Public Health England on whether 181st annual event can go ahead

Whitby RegattaWhitby Regatta
Whitby Regatta
One of the most popular summer events on the Yorkshire coast is in limbo as organisers await a decision on whether it can go ahead.

Whitby Regatta has been held in the town since 1847 and traditionally takes place in August. Last year it was cancelled for the first time since World War Two, when it was unsafe to race in the North Sea due to enemy action and there was a shortage of competitors.

This year's racing depends on social distancing rules being dropped in the next 'road map' announcement on July 19, and organisers are seeking guidance from Scarborough Council and Public Health England

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Regatta chair Ivor Greer said: "The Whitby Regatta committee, its volunteers, rowing clubs and Whitby Yacht Club are working very hard in conjunction with Scarborough Council and other partners in perpetuating our historic event that is important to Whitby and our community. This is the Whitby Regatta's 181st year - the event has only been postponed twice, once for a world war when there were no people to take part and last year due to this current pandemic. We are in contact and asking for guidance from Public Health England. The planned event is also dependent on the Government dropping its social distancing rules due at its next road map announcement on 19 July. We are working very hard to overcome all hurdles from current legislation that is in place now and in the future to ensure we can celebrate 181 years."

Around 20,000 people visit Whitby on Regatta weekend and it is also an important part of local heritage, being one of the last two surviving Victorian sea regattas that still take place on the north-east coast.

It features yacht and rowing races, a parade, fireworks display and other free entertainment.

The Regatta began with local fishermen racing each other in small coble boats before yachting was introduced. Competitive rowing was added to the programme in 1872, with many of the original clubs from Whitby and Scarborough still participating today.