Two of the biggest and most eagerly anticipated summer events in Lyme Regis have been cancelled.

Lyme Regis Lifeboat Week and Lyme Regis Regatta and Carnival were due to go ahead at the end of July and early August.

Lifeboat week has been held in the town since the early 1970s and has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for the RNLI charity. Last year alone the week raised a record £40,000.

Ken Lavery, chairman of the Lyme Regis Lifeboat Supporters, said: “This decision was incredibly difficult to make. However, first and foremost we must put the safety and welfare of our visitors, members and volunteers above all else.

“We felt it was impossible to carry out our many and varied activities to the standard that holidaymakers and members of the community know and love with social distancing measures in place as they should be.

“Lifeboat week in Lyme has always been not only great fun for all concerned but has raised a significant sum to support our voluntary lifesaving efforts.

“Our crew remains ready to go to the aid of anyone in danger on the sea with our colleagues in the coastguard service and this vital service will continue.

“However, as well as losing lifeboat week, a decision has been made to keep the lifeboat shop closed over the busy holiday period to ensure the safety of our volunteers, many of whom are in the vulnerable groups.

“Therefore, there will be a very significant loss of income this year. We would hope that as many people as are able will support the RNLI through donations and by using the online shop so that the loss can to some extent be mitigated.”

Alan Vian, regatta and carnival secretary, said: “We are so disappointed as we always look forward to being with holidaymakers raising money for local good causes.

“This virus will have a negative effect on local traders during this summer and on the lack of donations that we usually make to local organisations.

“Preparations are already in place for lifeboat week 2021 from July 24 to 31 and carnival week from August 7 to 14 and we look forward to welcoming everyone then.

“Together we will get through these difficult times and the message is, keep safe and take care.”