It’s going to be a very different festive season this year with two staples of the South Leeds Christmas already cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Today (17 August 2020) Middleton Railway announced that they would not be running Santa Trains this year and St Andrew’s Pantomime Group said they would not be producing a show this year.
It is with a heavy heart that the Middleton Railway has decided we cannot operate “Santa” trains in 2020. The Railway has investigated a number of ideas to try and operate our highly successful “Santa” trains, but current social distancing rules, coupled with the possibility of last-minute lockdown by government make the event extremely difficult to put together.
In a statement, Ian Smith, Middleton Railway’s Vice President said:
“In addition to the practicalities involved, the railway is conscious that we have developed a great experience over the years, which has proved very popular. We feel that it would be wrong to present a “lesser experience” than normal, which could disappoint our child visitors and this has also been a factor in our decision to cancel.”
MRT Chairman, Charles Milner, added:
“The Railway has very reluctantly come to the decisions not to run Santa Specials in 2020; we believe that in the current circumstances we cannot give the children who come to see Santa on our railway the fun experience they deserve and expect of us. We are also unable to provide their parents the relaxed and happy atmosphere that we have tried to achieve over the years. We all look forward to seeing Santa on our Railway in 2021”.
Apparently, the Railway received the following message from Santa himself:
“I am sorry I cannot come to Middleton Railway this year, but I am looking forward to visiting once again in 2021. Don’t worry about Christmas – I can still visit everyone’s houses as usual!”
In a separate development St Andrew’s Pantomime Group announced that their popular pantomime will not be taking place this Winter season amid uncertainty around the Coronavirus pandemic. The Group says it will put on its production of Mother Goose in January 2022 instead.
The Group said it had taken the decision to postpone the pantomime because of uncertainty around when public places will be able to re-open without social distancing and other Covid-19 management measures being in place.
Simon Forster, Group Chairman said:
“It is with very heavy hearts that the committee of St Andrew’s Pantomime Group has had to take the decision to cancel our 2020/21 panto, which would have been Mother Goose, due to Covid-19.
“Our priority is to ensure the safety of our members and audiences during the current pandemic and ongoing restrictions on indoor shows means that rehearsals, set-building and performing/attending productions is not viable at this time.
“Our current plan is to perform the show in the 2021/22 season, so in the meantime, take care, stay safe and we look forward to a time we can safely meet up again.
“It is very disappointing, but necessary to postpone the show this year, but we look forward to welcoming it back bigger and better than ever next year”.