ORGANISERS of York Pride say they have made the "heartbreaking" decision to cancel this year’s event in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Event director Greg Stephenson said the decision to call off York Pride 2020 on June 6 was "reluctantly taken" but followed the advice of the Government and Public Health England on mass gatherings and social events during the pandemic.

He said: “This has been a heartbreaking call for us to make after all the work we have already put into this year’s event.

“However, we would never put the health and wellbeing of our pride-goers, volunteers, artists or traders at risk, or stretch the resources of our emergency services at a time when they are needed more elsewhere.”

The annual York Pride Festival involves up to 10,000 people parading rainbow flags through the city centre from York Minster to Knavesmire in celebration of LGBT equality and inclusivity.

Greg said it took a whole year to plan and, whilst organisers had been carefully considering all options, it was unclear how long current measures would remain in place or how the situation might develop, and it was sadly impossible to reschedule it for later in the year.

“With so many uncertainties, we ultimately believe this is the right decision to protect our long-term future,” he said.

“Instead, we will concentrate all our efforts on delivering you a truly amazing York Pride in 2021.

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to all our sponsors, stallholders and suppliers for their support this year.

“Thank you to all of you too for hopefully understanding why we have had to make this tough decision, because nobody is as disappointed as we are.”