May 19, 2016
Shock as popular Burnham-On-Sea Hospital Fete is axed after 50 years

One of the longest-running community events in Burnham-On-Sea's social calendar has been cancelled following a shock announcement by its organisers this week.

The annual Burnham Hospital fete, which has been held for five decades on the August Bank Holiday Monday in the town's Manor Gardens, won't be held in 2016.

Tony Deahl, Chairman of the League of Friends, told this week: "Over the years the Fete has become increasingly difficult to organise with health and safety legislation, risk assessments, insurance issues, increasing running costs, and the difficulty in recruiting sufficient younger volunteers."

"It is with much regret that this year's Hospital Fete will not take place. The Fete has become a Burnham tradition which started 50 years ago with the formation of the League of Friends and it is particularly sad that this should have to be announced this year when only last week reported our 50th anniversary celebrations and the opening of the enclosed garden we funded for patient and visitor use."

"Surprisingly, the Fete raised considerably more money for the Hospital in the 1980s than it does now! The Fete sub-committee is actively looking at organising a fete on a smaller scale in the grounds of the hospital where it had its roots."

Tony added that he plans to step down from his lead role at the League of Friends.

"After 33 years on the Friends Committee and 20 years as Chairman I am standing down on June 6th at this year's AGM. I am sure that local people will continue to support our local hospital in the way they have over the past 50 years."

"This can be done by supporting Friends events - the Music Evening in October, the Social Event at the Oaktree Arena in March, our coffee mornings on the third Saturday of each month in the Methodist Church Hall and by joining the Friends online. We are very fortunate to have such an excellent local facility and must do all we can to retain and support it."

The Fete's Chairman, Bernard Spilsbury, told "It is with great sadness that the Friends of Burnham Hospital have to announce that they are no longer able to continue to run the Fete."

"The continuing demand for more and more work in carrying out Risk Assessments and ever increasing costs, coupled with a Committee whose members are inevitably getting older makes it, for us at least, a commitment that we are no longer able to keep."

"We would like to thank all those who, in the past, have helped and been involved in the Fete and to the businesses that have supported our ventures in the past. The Friends will continue with their future fundraising programme and there will be further announcements in the future."

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for community group Burnham Events Social Team told that it's possible the group may consider stepping in with other groups to hold an event on the day in its place, however nothing has yet been decided.


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