KENDAL and District Lions have been forced to cancel their guided Christmas tours with Santa this year due to Covid-19.

This would have been their 40th year of fundraising around the Kendal area.

It has saddened the club, that after seeking advice from various sources they have had to come to this decision.

Roy Axten, president of the club, said: “We have had to cancel this because of the way we operate and the proximity to the children to Santa.

“The South Lakeland District Council have said that, despite an idea of perspex screen between the children and Santa, that this was not adequate enough to go ahead.

“Santa would also need to wear a mask. Considering the screen, the mask, and the distance it would be very difficult to hear what one another are saying.

“There is also the fact that we could attract groups of more than six with families coming out onto the streets. We would be vulnerable to fines as we would be encouraging large groups to come out by doing this.

“We have been in discussions with SLDC, Cumbria Country Council, Highways, and the police to try and get this going.

“It takes us so long to work out a route, so even if restrictions ease later in the year, we can’t plan a route from the start of December.”

The static Santa’s will also not go ahead as Supermarkets are unable to give their permission for them to be outside their stores, which Mr Axten hopes will change in the near future.

“It would have been nice to do it this year as it would have been our 40th year and we wanted to celebrate that,” Mr Axten continued.

“It is going to be a tough Christmas for everyone, and the councils, the supermarkets, and all those we have been working with have been really helpful.

“Everyone wants us to do it, but it is about us doing it in the right way.”

This annual tradition would normally see members as well as local volunteers go out onto the streets with Santa Claus in the build-up to Christmas and post a schedule of where he will be and when so the children could go out to see him.

Mr Axten has said they are currently working hard to try and arrange a Covid friendly alternative for the children so that they do not miss out. Plans are being made and they will hope to confirm them in the near future.