An ambitious festival aimed at attracting 80,000 visitors to Ramsgate this June has been cancelled due to a lack of funding.
The three-day Royal Harbour History Festival (RHHF) was due to take place from June 15-17, with a massive programme planned to promote the wealth of rich history in Thanet and east Kent.
Highlights were to have included a 25-minute cricket match between a Royal Harbour team and a Royal Navy side at the Goodwin Sands, a special schools’ festival, a ‘salute’ from a flotilla of Little Ships, a Vikings and Romans living history encampment and a screening of the new Dunkirk movie on the beach.
High profile names who had agreed to be part of the event included Head of the Royal Marines Major General Robert Magowan, former England cricketer Ryan Sidebottom, TV historian Dan Snow and presenter and historian Peter Snow.
RHHF chairman Victoria Nielson (pictured) said: “It is with great sadness and regret that a difficult decision has now been made to not hold the Royal Harbour History Festival in June this year.
“Our focus for Friday, June 15 was the Royal Navy vs Royal Harbour Goodwin Sands cricket match at which we had gathered, alongside the Royal Navy, the incredible support of participants such as Chris Cowdrey, David Gower and Henry Blofeld.
“We enjoyed an excellent response from the community as we prepared for this year’s festival and I want to thank all who were so helpful, including our many national, regional and local supporting partners.
“However, we have continued to struggle with securing enough funding. We have been working with a number of great local people to get ahead of these challenges and find collaborative solutions but with just over two months before the event, we had to make the difficult, but necessary decision to cancel.”
The RHHF team still plan to hold some of the events at future dates if funding can be secured.
These would include supporting the 80th anniversary of Dunkirk in 2020 by providing the Dunkirk Experience along with World War Two Living History and speakers and, in 2021, an event to focus on the 200th anniversary of the Royal Harbour followed by Viking and Roman Living History events in 2022.
Ms Neilson added: “I firmly believe that the work over the last three years has laid the foundations for future annual events that will see the festival emerge as a ‘destination history’ event with an enhanced and impactful visitor programme.”
The RHHF team are now contacting supporting partners and participants.