AN HISTORIC celebration of Dunbar, which was set to toast its 50th year, has been postponed.

Dunbar’s Civic Week was due to take place from June 13 to 21 but the town’s community councillors have taken the tough decision to cancel the annual celebration amid fears surrounding coronavirus.

George Robertson, chairman of the Civic Week planning committee, spoke to the Courier on Thursday, with the decision officially taken to cancel the event just days later.

He said: “There are discussions taking place and it is very likely to be cancelled.

“That is my recommendation to the community council and I am awaiting them to come back to me.”

Traditionally, Civic Week, which started in 1970, features dozens of events, ranging from football tournaments to a cycle ride.

The town’s lifeboat station opens its doors to visitors and live music is performed at The Battery, at the town’s harbour.

Central to the event is the crowning of Dunbar’s Civic Week Queen, who is a randomly chosen female P7 pupil from the town.

Mr Robertson said there were concerns that coronavirus would decimate the programme, which is already in the process of being drawn up.

He said: “You cannot have a fun day or a parade with 500 people.

“A lot of people are going to be in lockdown.

“It is a real blow and it could not have come at a worse time [the event was due to celebrate 50 years] but in the grand scheme of things, cancelling Dunbar Civic Week, like Wimbledon and Glastonbury, does not amount to a whole lot of grievance.

“I was quite anxious we made a decision.

“We were discussing this before the school closure came about and we were due to have a draw on March 31 for the Royal Court.”

Mr Robertson, who is also a member of the town’s community council, said “a lot” of preparation had already gone into the event and thanked the work of volunteers Eileen Moore and Sanchita Patjoshi in pulling everything together.

It remains to be seen if the event will be rescheduled for later in the year or simply resume in the summer of 2021.

Mr Robertson noted that attempting to hold the event later in the year created a number of other potential issues.

No one knows when everyday events could return to normal in the wake of COVID-19, while the children who are currently in P7 would have moved on to Dunbar Grammar School by the time the event could be held.

This year’s event was also due to mark the 650th anniversary of the granting of the Royal Charter to Dunbar.

The Royal Charter was granted to Dunbar by King David the Second (Son of Robert the Bruce) in 1370.

This came about because Berwick-upon-Tweed was then in English hands and the lucrative revenues from the export of border wool was lost to the Scottish crown.

The granting of a Royal Charter to Dunbar meant that this trade could now go via Dunbar and the port of Belhaven, and revenues revert to Scotland.

The 600th anniversary was celebrated in grand style in 1970 with the very first Dunbar Civic Week, and Civic Week has continued annually ever since.