SOUTHEND'S Christmas Light Switch On - due to take place in November - has been cancelled.

Organisers say the decision to cancel the annual event - due to take place on November 14 - is in the interest of public safety in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The annual celebration, organised buy Southend Business Improvement District, sees the switch on of the Christmas lights after a day of free music, dance and family fun.

It officially marks the beginning of the festive season in Southend and regularly attracts thousands of visitors to Southend.

Suzanne Gloyne, Southend BID Manager, said: “We are incredibly disappointed that we have had to take this decision but current Government restrictions do not allow events which encourage mass gatherings – and those that do attend must be socially distanced at all times.

"If you’ve ever attended one of the Southend light switch on days you will know that thousands of people come in to support the town and keeping socially distanced is impossible.”

She added: “Businesses have worked hard to implement safety measures in their premises and we at Southend BID have been working with a strategic group for a safe re-opening alongside partners from across the borough. The last thing anyone wants is a local lockdown and public safety has to be the priority here.”

Last year saw record crowds turn out to enjoy day, which included arts and crafts, a snow machine, dance shows, performances from the likes of The Voice’s Sarah Tucker, a Busking Bus and a reunion of legendary Heart radion breakfast show presenters, Martin Day and Su Harrison.

The BID manager added: “Although we will be forgoing the event this year we will still be adorning the high street with our lighting scheme and our twinkling forty foot Christmas tree.

"So as you head into town to make your way down your present list you will still be able to enjoy the festive atmosphere whilst supporting your local high street.

"We are already in talks about planning our 2021 event and it’s set to be the best switch on yet.”