Coronavirus: Berwick Riding of the Bounds cancelled

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The 411th staging of the Riding of the Bounds in Berwick has fallen victim to the coronavirus outbreak.

The annual 15-mile rideout around the town’s ancient boundaries, which can attract up to 100 horses and riders as well as large crowds, was due to take place on Saturday, May 2.

Berwick Riders Association, which organises the event, announced the decision to cancel this year’s event on its Facebook page.

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It stated: “Following recent government advice and after in depth discussions with The Freeman and Berwick Town Council it is with great sadness that that we have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Riding of the Bounds and the election of new principals due to the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic.

Berwick Riding of the Bounds 2019. Picture by Jane ColtmanBerwick Riding of the Bounds 2019. Picture by Jane Coltman
Berwick Riding of the Bounds 2019. Picture by Jane Coltman

“This decision has not been taken lightly as it is Berwick's oldest tradition but the safety of everyone is our main priority and we must act responsibly and act on the advice given and we feel it is the correct course of action at this time.

“Our thoughts are with every other border town and their committees who also have difficult decisions to make in the coming weeks and months.”

After lengthy discussions it has been decided that the current principals will remain in their positions until next year.

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This means that Victoria Irwin will now become chief marshal in 2021 and the new incoming principal who would have been installed at its spring sashing ceremony will have to wait until next year.

The post explained: “Although we normally keep our new principals under wraps until the sashing event we feel that it is unfair and a very difficult secret to keep for that long!

“We therefore would like to announce that Mrs Julia Szoneberg will be our Right Hand Man for 2021.

“Although no ride will be taking place this year we are still hoping to honour the tradition in some way (restrictions permitting) even if it means a very small group on foot.”

Next year’s ride will be held on Saturday, May 1.

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