A POPULAR annual boat race which regularly raises thousands for charity has been cancelled.

The Manvers Lake Dragon Boat Race, organised by Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, sees teams made up of local people and businesses race brightly coloured Chinese-inspired 30ft boats across the lake.

This year’s event, scheduled for July, has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Sam Wood, head of fundraising at Bluebell Wood, said the decision was ‘disappointing’ - but with the situation in July currently unclear, it was not worth the ‘unnecessary risk’.

“Our primary focus as a hospice at present is to support some of the most vulnerable in our communities through this crisis, while helping to relive the pressures faced by our NHS colleagues,” added Sam.

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“This means that the majority of the events and activities that raise much-needed funds for our charity have been cancelled or postponed for the foreseeable future.

“We understand that many people will struggle to support charities like Bluebell Wood right now, but we have every confidence our amazing supporters will be there for us when the time is right for them.

“We’d like to thank everyone who signed up to take part in our Dragon Boat Race and we’d love to see as many of you as possible on the water next year.

“We’d also like to thank the team at Manvers Lake for always working so hard to make the event such a success, and we’ll look forward to working with them again in the future.”