THE Wee County has taken another Covid-19 body blow following the decision to cancel the Famous Alva Games this summer.

It will be the second year in a row the annual event has been lost, with coronavirus restrictions continuing to rain uncertainty on large-scale gatherings.

Committee members met on Sunday night to discuss options – including the idea of running a reduced version of the games – but the decision was taken to cancel.

Organisers had been determined to ensure this year's event went ahead, especially after last year fell foul to the pandemic.

Craig Dunbar, committee secretary, said: "With just over three months to go, this is the crucial time for committing to the organisation of the event and commitment to various items of expenditure, which would be lost in the event of a subsequent cancellation.

"As presently advised, there was no certainty as to our ability to hold the games at all or certainly not in a format which any of us would recognise."

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He added: "By July, it is hoped that the adult population will have had one dose of the vaccine but by no means two. No one yet knows what decision is to be taken about children.

"As an event which caters for families of all ages from infants to the more mature, we had to consider their and our safety and well-being and we simply could not be assured that we could discharge our obligations under the presently-known regime.

"The policing of social distancing, which is almost certainly going to be with us for some time yet, would be a major task in an open public park and while certain measures could and would be taken around hand sanitising, the additional steps which we know would be required in addition would have been a burden which would have been unsustainable."

The committee also considered that restrictions on international travel would also hamper attendance, along with the fact that, indeed, the easing of restrictions coming over the next few weeks could still be pulled back by the summer.

A reduced event was also discussed, but members felt it would not "do justice to the reputation of the games" and would be unfair to those not able to therefore attend.

Mr Dunbar continued: "As with so many other events which have already called time on their 2021 gathering, the committee resolved to regroup and devote their attention to the re-arranged fixture on July 9, 2022, when we hope that a bigger, better and brighter games can be held.

"This was not the decision which the committee wanted to take, but it is hoped sincerely that it is one which has been taken for the last time as a result of this health emergency."