International Jamboree cancelled due to coronavirus fears
- Credit: Archant
Thousands of scouts and guides have been left disappointed after the Essex International Jamboree was cancelled due to coronavirus fears.
Essex has hosted an international jamboree every four years since 1952. This will be the first year it has been cancelled in almost 70 years.
It means that almost 10,000 scouts and guides from dozens of countries will not take part in the week-long celebrations at Boyton Cross, near Roxwell and Chelmsford, on August 1.
In a statement on their website, joint chiefs Karen Packer and Paul Walker said: 'In light of the developing Coronavirus situation and the significant financial risk to Essex County Scouts and Girlguiding Essex Counties if our event has to be cancelled at short notice by measures out of our control, discussions have taken place with our charity trustees as to the viability of continuing with Essex International Jamboree 2020.
'As a consequence of these discussions, we have taken the very difficult decision to cancel Essex International Jamboree 2020.
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'We are aware this is extremely disappointing for the 9000+ participants, leaders and volunteer staff.'
An extensive explanation is available on the Essex International Jamboree website.
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Through discussions with the county council, a number of crisis scenarios were assessed, including a coronavirus outbreak at the jamboree, international visitors being banned from travelling home, and potential last-minute cancellations by visiting groups and suppliers of equipment or food.
Organisers announced that all fees paid by volunteers and groups will be refunded in the coming weeks and months.
The chiefs added: 'All our staff are volunteers and we will make every effort to make payments promptly but with a large number of individual payments to be made, this will take time.
'Please note, we cannot reimburse any monies spent on travel or other activity linked to EIJ2020.'
The Essex International Jamboree was first held in 1927 when it was visited by the founder of the Scouts, Sir Robert Baden-Powell.