Coronavirus fears force cancellation of fund raising festival

Fears around the spread of the Coronavirus have forced Olicanian Cricket Club to cancel a three-day festival designed to raise funds to complete a new pavilion.

The club, which lost its pavilion in an arson attack last summer, had been planning a Spirit of Cricket Festival in September and had approached former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff and former Strictly dancer Natalie Lowe to take part.

The plan was to erect a marquee, which could hold up to 450 people, on the club’s Denton Road ground and for three days of events which would appeal to different sections of the local community.

Mr Mark Dexter, one of the club’s Trustees said: “Friday was going to be an evening of cricket talk hosted by former Sky Sport Cricket Correspondent Tim Abraham. We had approached Andrew Flintoff and had also looked at whether we could get Ben Stokes, the current BBC Sports Personality of the Year, to attend.

"Saturday was going to be a Festival Ball and we had spoken to Natalie Lowe who was very interested in hosting the event and performing a couple of dance routines. Sunday afternoon was going to be a Songs From The Shows/Opera event with singers from Opera North.

“Sadly, the situation around Coronavirus has changed significantly in the last few days, forcing us to re-think. We felt that we would have had to drive the bulk of the ticket sales in April, May and June - just when the Coronavirus outbreak is expected to be at its peak. By September, the situation may have eased but, given that large gatherings of people are going to be discouraged in the coming months, we thought it was going to be a hard sell in the present climate,” he added.