TWO of Hampshire's biggest Christmas events have been axed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Totton Lantern Parade and the Christmas lights display at Byron Road, New Milton, have both been cancelled because of the continuing need observe social distancing.

The lantern parade was due to have been held in Totton town centre at the beginning of December.

But a statement issued by the organisers says: "It is with regret that we've decided to cancel the normal lantern procession this year.

New Forest Post:

"It's too difficult to predict what the situation will be by then and we don't want to organise something which might encourage a gathering at the wrong time.

"However we won't be beaten.

"We love our Christmas in Totton so we're working hard to come up with a plan for ways to bring our lovely community together."

Last year hundreds of people gathered beside the main roundabout in the town centre to watch Saints hero Franny Benali switch on the town's Christmas lights.

The superfit 50-year-old had recently raised £1m for Cancer Research UK by taking part in seven Ironman challenges, which involved swimming, cycling and running a total of 140 miles each day.

The festive lights display at Byron Road - dubbed Britain's most festive street - has also fallen victim to Covid.

Last year more than 1,000 people crowded into the narrow terraced street to watch Meridian presenter Fred Dinenage and former Saints manager Harry Redknapp switch on the spectacular display.

The event has raised more than £80,000 for good causes since it was first staged 16 years ago by one of the residents, Ged Hollyoake.

New Forest Post:

Lymington’s traditional Christmas on the Quay, which sees Santa arrive by boat, has also been axed after organisers said it would be impossible to impose social distancing.

This yea's Beaulieu Fireworks Spectacular - due to have been held on October 31 - has also been axed.

A Beaulieu spokesperson said: "It was hoped that larger scale events would be able to return later in the year, however it is looking increasingly likely that this is not going to be possible.

"Therefore, a regretful but early decision has been made to cancel the event. "