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High profile events start to fall

High profile events start to fall

Wednesday 18 March 2020

High profile events start to fall

Wednesday 18 March 2020

The Liberation Tea Dance and Hangar Balls, the Literary Festival, and the Muratti are among the most high profile events in the Bailiwick to suffer as a direct result of the growing threat of covid-19.

Specsavers has confirmed that it has had to cancel both the free Tea Dance it puts on for the war-time generation, as well as the two Hangar Balls scheduled to take place on 7 and 9 May.

The firm fully funds the Tea Dance, while the 800 people going to the Hangar Ball have paid £50 a head for tickets. They will be automatically refunded the full amount including the booking fee in due course but for more information visit or email

Specsavers’ event organisers said the decision has been taken "with a heavy heart".

"At this time, we understand the need to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone in our community," said Dame Mary Perkins. "Regrettably this means we have decided to cancel the Tea Dance and Hangar Ball, which we know so many people were looking forward to. Right now the health and wellbeing of our team and the island community is our priority."

The Liberation events were cancelled shortly after the States confirmed the public events planned for 9 May are being reconsidered and that many will be cancelled, or made available by online streaming only, to cut down on public attendance. 


Pictured: The Festival Director of the Guernsey Literary Festival, Claire Allen. 

As one of the island's major annual arts events, the Guernsey Literary Festival brings visitors to the island, as well as entertaining and educating thousands of residents.

It has however been cancelled for 2020, under guidelines issued for events amid the covid-19 outbreak.

This year’s Festival, scheduled for 29 April to 3 May, had nearly 60 events planned, mostly with writers and speakers from the UK, as well as a full education and community programme. The Guernsey Literary Festival’s board of directors met to discuss the situation earlier this week and board Chairman Rob Shepherd said that the decision to cancel was taken "with a heavy heart".

"I suspect that few of you will be surprised at this decision but rest assured it has only been taken as a last resort and with the health of our authors, audiences and volunteers as the priority," said Mr Shepherd.

All those who have bought tickets will be offered a refund or the option to attend selected events at a rearranged date. Ben Fogle’s event on 8 October is still going ahead at this point in time.

"The Festival is considering options for later in the year, which may include some of the speakers scheduled for next month’s events. It may be that these can be rearranged for later in the year. We will let you know as soon as we have some concrete plans," said Mr Shepherd.   

Festival Director Claire Allen said, "We had a brilliant programme ready for this year, and sales of tickets were already ahead of this time last year, but no-one could have foreseen the effect of this virus. People’s health must come first.

"I would like to pay tribute to the team of volunteers who put the programme together and all our sponsors, supporters and friends. We are all upset by what has happened but we will bounce back."

The Festival’s WriteStuff writing competition for local schoolchildren will be judged as normal and results of the Guernsey International Poetry Competition, which has just been judged by Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, will be announced soon. 

Muratti 2017 team

Pictured: Guernsey's victorious Muratti squad in 2017. 

Hearts were broken in Alderney this week when the decision to postpone the 2020 Close Finance Muratti Vase Semi-Final was made.

2020 marks 100 years since Alderney last won the inter-island trophy and the Ridunians were looking forward to hosting Guernsey on Saturday 21 March.

The Under 16 Nigel Gavey match scheduled for 28 March has also been postponed.

Guernsey FA Chief Executive, and Inter-Insular Committee Secretary, Gary Roberts, said: 

“It is regrettable that the decision has been taken to reschedule these two matches. However, following the decision by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare a COVID-19 Pandemic, and the recommendation by the Director of Public Health in Guernsey advising all Guernsey residents to consider avoiding all non-essential travel to and from the Bailiwick, this was the most prudent course of action.

"Football, like all sport, is a significant part of our communities and this decision was not taken lightly but the situation we currently face is unprecedented and the Inter- Insular Committee and the Associations recognise there is a social responsibility to place the health and well-being of those communities at the forefront of our decision making.”

The Inter-Insular Committee wishes to emphasise, that at this time, these matches are being postponed and not cancelled. The Committee said it will continue to monitor the guidance and advice of the Guernsey, Jersey and Alderney governments medical professionals and will provide further updates as they become available.

Alderney FA Chairman Reg Atkins added:

“We have taken the advice of our Island Medical Advisor and heeded our respective government directives in only undertaking essential travel into and out of the Islands. Sports travel is not essential activity and therefore will cease immediately. We look forward to reaching a better outlook on COVID-19 and rescheduling the semi-final. The backing of our Governments and travel partners is imperative to ensuring the safety of all players, coaches and supporters; allowing all to hopefully be involved in the future fixture. Whilst it is disappointing to postpone such a historic event, as this would have been the 100th Anniversary of Alderney’s only Muratti win, but people’s health comes first.”

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