THE annual Three Kings Parade and Christmas lights switch-on in Stourport has been cancelled due to coronavirus.

The yearly tradition was due to take place in November, but organisers say they have no choice but to cancel in light of the ongoing government ban on mass gatherings.

Mayor of Stourport, Councillor Ken Henderson, said: "We are incredibly disappointed that we have had to take this decision but current government rules on Covid-19 still prevent mass gatherings.

"If you have ever attended the lights switch-on, you will know that thousands of people come to support the town and keeping socially-distanced will be impossible."

Kidderminster Shuttle: The Scout and Guide Band in a previous Three Kings Parade. Photo by Colin HillThe Scout and Guide Band in a previous Three Kings Parade. Photo by Colin Hill

For the last few years, the Three Kings Parade has seen students at St Bartholomew's C of E School preparing the kings, Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar, while children at Astley C of E Primary have carried their tinsel stars in the procession.

Pupils from other schools in the area also take part in the event, alongside local community groups including the Scouts and Guide Band, civic dignitaries, dancers and local clergy.

Cllr Henderson added: "Although we will be foregoing the event this year, we are hoping to still display the lights in the town centre and the Villeneuve-le-Roi Gardens."

Stourport Town Council said organisers are already in talks about planning the 2021 Christmas event, which they said is set to be the "best switch-on yet".