Straw Bear becomes casualty of Covid-19

Straw Bear 2022 is cancelled

Covid-19 and rising cases in Fenland has prompted organisers to cancel Whittlesey Straw Bear festival. - Credit: Archant

Rising cases of Covid-19 across Fenland has prompted cancellation of Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival.  

A slimmed down version was going ahead on January 15 but even that has now been pulled.  

“We are very sorry to announce that the Straw Bear Festival 2022 has been cancelled,” said a statement issued today by organisers.” 

“The committee do not feel that it would be responsible to run an event, in the light of the infection rate rise, that would potentially spread the virus even more and put the town of Whittlesey at further risk.” 

Covid cases in Fenland rose from 358 to 911 during December (Public Health England) 

Whittlesey town councillor Eamonn Dorling posted to a local Facebook group: “Work it out, but a doubling of cases in a single month is significant by any measure.” 

Until today outdoor activities, in a restricted form, were planned for Saturday January 15 but with reduced number of Morris dancers taking part. 

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And in a special ‘spread the joy, not the virus’ message, organisers had appealed for anyone attending to be tested before they arrive. 

Straw Bear dates back many years to when it was the custom on the Tuesday following Plough Monday (the 1st Monday after Twelfth Night) to dress one of the confraternity of the plough in straw and call him a 'Straw Bear 

The custom was revived in 1980 by the Whittlesea Society.