ORGANISERS of what would have been the New Forest’s first Pride event have taken the “heartbreaking” decision to cancel the parade.

A celebration of the local gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community has fallen victim to the Covid-19 crisis and the need for social distancing.

It follows the decision to cancel this year's Southampton Pride event, which was also scheduled to take place in August.

New Forest Post:

In a statement the organisers said: "It is with deepest regret that we at New Forest Pride have taken the heartbreaking decision to cancel our event due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The New Forest Pride committee had been working very hard to ensure our event would continue.

"But after heavy consideration felt it was unnecessary to put members of the public, local businesses, performers, volunteers and committee members at risk.

"With no clear sign of us returning to any form of normality any time soon this is simply the best decision we can make to ensure We are following government guidelines and adhering to social distancing measures.

"We would like to thank each and every person who has supported us in any way shape or form."

New Forest Post:

Referring to the decision to cancel the 2020 event the statement added: "​I know the news is not what you wanted to hear. However, this gives us more time to prepare for a bigger and better New Forest Pride 2021.

"We can’t wait to the day we are told that we have beaten coronavirus and we can all get together and have a massive Pride event."

The event had been due to take place in Lymington on August 22.

Ward councillor Jack Davies said: "We had worked so hard over the last couple of years to make it happen.

“Somewhere like the New Forest is very traditional and, in some ways, still stuck in the 20th century and it was good to champion forward-thinking events like this which would make people feel they are part of the community."