AN ANNUAL fundraiser which regularly generates more than £15,000 for charity has been cancelled for 2019 because its usual venue is closed for repairs.

Save the Children’s Country Market has been a staple of the Haddington Corn Exchange calendar for many years.

However, with work due to start in September, the building is out of commission and the charity has had to concede defeat with a view to returning in 2020.

Anna Hocknell, from the organising committee, said it was with “sadness and regret” that the group had taken the decision to shelve the 2019 country market.

She said: “It is because the Corn Exchange is out of action and it is not going to be ready until after our date.

“We are having a year off but it is going to happen the following year – all singing and dancing.

“What will happen after that I don’t know.

“A lot of people who man the stalls are getting elderly.”

Funds raised have reached as much as £20,000 in a year, with the money going to the charity, which promotes children’s rights, provides relief and helps support children in developing countries.

The market is full of county producers and the community providing support with produce and contributions.

An array of stalls usually fill the Court Street venue, offering everything from fruit and vegetables to home baking, bric-a-brac and accessories, as well as a country cafe.

The organisers of the event did look at alternative venues in a bid to ensure the event went ahead.

Ms Hocknell said: “We did look at trying to hold it somewhere else but really there is not a big enough venue to hold it.”

Possible venues included golf clubs and village halls but these were ruled out.

Refurbishment works, which include installing new roof lights in the main hall and replacing the timber flooring, will be carried out by Livingston-based Maxi Construction.

A spokeswoman for Save the Children said: “Due to the ongoing refurbishments in Haddington Corn Exchange, the branch was aware that the annual country market might not have been possible this year.

“We had initially planned for the market to take place on October 5 but suspected that this was unlikely, so we decided it was best to pull our plans early.

“Therefore, the delayed refurbishments have not had a direct bearing on our decision.

“We’re very much looking forward to next year where we will be celebrating 50 years of the country market and enjoying a belated celebration of Save the Children’s centenary year.”