The traditional Durham Miners’ Gala, which typically attracts a crowd of 200,000 people, has been cancelled for a second year due to the pandemic.
Organisers had been hoping to celebrate its 150th anniversary in July, but the road map out of lockdown did not allow them enough time to prepare, they said.
The event is one of Europe’s largest Trade Union events which attracts large crowds into Durham’s winding streets to watch the pit banners and brass bands parade.
Senior Labour figures in recent years have spoken at the Gala, and a large funfair made it a day out for many families.
The Durham Miners’ Association has previously said only world wars and two national strikes had stopped the Gala before.
In a letter to partner organisations, secretary Alan Mardghum explained why the 2021 Gala could not go ahead as hoped.
He said: “The executive committee of the DMA felt we could not ask all of our partners in local government, the police, health services and banner groups to forge on towards our great day while the possibility of it being allowed to go ahead – with or without social distancing measures – seems less and less likely.
“Furthermore, we would be asking thousands of people to commit time, money and resources which they can ill afford.
“The Prime Minister’s road map to Covid recovery made difficult reading for this year’s 150th Gala year.
“The key part of the timetable is June 21 which is the very earliest that the Government says large public events could again be possible.
“That would leave a mere three weeks for us to mobilise or cancel the Gala which, as always, was scheduled for the second Saturday in July.
“It was felt that the risk factors are too great to commit bands, banners and hard-pressed public services to the complex organisation of the Gala while the possibility of having to cancel the event is still very high.”
Mr Mardghum promised: “We will be back in 2022 with biggest and best Gala ever and we look forward to seeing you all there.”