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Arts festival misses out on silver anniversary

Swaffham's Rotary Club's popular annual art exhibition and arts festival is another major event to fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is always a big fundraiser for the club and this year's Visual Arts Festival, scheduled for October, would have celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Stephen Ward, who is chairman of the festival, said that they had started preparing for 2020 shortly after last year's event finished, that most of the events had been planned by February and artists contacted by May.

Last year's art on show (40272104)
Last year's art on show (40272104)

“In those early days of lockdown everyone thought it would be over by the autumn,” he said.

“Once it became obvious that none of the venues would be open and social distancing would severely restrict activities such as exhibitions, the club started looking at the viability of conducting virtual events.

“Costs and practicalitiesbecame prohibitive and it was a with a heavy heart that the club decided to move the anniversary celebrations until next year.”

Mr Ward said that as well as offering a prime platform for artists in the area to show off their work, it is the main fund raising events of the year.

As a result the club is having to cut back on its charitable giving for 2020.

Over the last 24 years the festival and exhibition has raised more than £160,000 for many charities and in 2019 it raised £5,000 alone.

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