DURHAM Regatta, the second oldest event of its kind in the world, has been cancelled this year, due to coronavirus outbreak.

The 187th regatta was scheduled to take place on the Racecourse on the River Wear in Durham, on the weekend of June 13 and 14.

It was much looked forward to among the rowing community in the North-East and beyond, after heavy rain led to the cancellation of last year’s regatta.

A statement from event chairman, Dr Nigel Van Zwanenberg, said: “The board of directors, executive and members of Durham Regatta regret to announce the cancellation of the Durham Regatta, scheduled for 13th and 14th June, 2020.

“The health, safety and welfare of all who take part in or contribute to the regatta are of paramount importance and we judge that the risks to these are not acceptable.

“We were particularly conscious of the risks to umpires given the demographics of our group.

“We recognise that this decision will come as a major disappointment to our competitors, supporters, volunteers and all who look forward to one of the joys of the Northern summer.

“We, too, are deeply upset.”

The announcement came shortly after the cancellation of Henley Royal Regatta, on the River Thames, which the Durham equivalent pre-dates by five years, early in July.