A popular annual carnival procession has been cancelled just days before the event.

The Romsey Town Carnival procession will not be lining the streets of the town for the first time in its history, organisers confirmed.

Announcing the news on social media, volunteers said the decision is ‘beyond their control’.

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Their post said: “Apologies to all, but we have had to cancel the Summer Carnival (on July 6th).

“Many different factors have led to this extremely difficult decision and given the work that goes on behind the scenes it has been as disappointing for us as I’m sure it is for you.

“The bed race and mayors’ picnic and fancy dress parade will go ahead as planned.”

Organisers added: “Due to the football and now shortage of police, volunteers, marshals, cadets and St John’s, we are going to have to cancel the carnival procession.”

It comes after the carnival’s committee called for sponsors to help fund the book-themed event.

Chairman John Ray previously said that financial support is “crucial to ensuring the continued success of the Romsey Summer Carnival and in aiding local charities that provide invaluable support to those in need".

John said it was the first time the event has been cancelled, expect for one year during Covid, in the 40 years he has been involved. 

He said: "The main reason is because of the football. We just wouldn't have the volunteers we would need for the event to be safe. It put us in a difficult position, but it couldn't have gone ahead. 

"We need around a dozen volunteers for road closures alone. We probably lost 30-40 per cent of our volunteers."

The event would have clashed with England's Euro 2024 quarter-final with Switzerland at 5pm on Saturday, July 6.

Mr Ray added: "It's 100 per cent because of the football. There would have been a lack of people watching the procession. We could have pressed ahead, but with the lack of volunteers, it was too risky."

The Romsey Carnival is not the first in the area to be struck by financial woes and a lack of volunteers.

Hedge End Carnival, which has raised many thousands for good causes since its inception in 1921, will not take place this month.

Chairman Jean Rumbold said earlier this year no volunteers offered their services for this year’s event.

However, organisers hope to return next year. 

The carnival usually features a themed procession through the streets of Hedge End involving several organisations.