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Carol services in east London cancelled after overcrowding

15 December 2023

Diocese of London

Carols at Columbia Road, in east London, last year

Carols at Columbia Road, in east London, last year

CAROL services organised by St Peter’s, Bethnal Green, have been cancelled after dangerous overcrowding at an event in east London on Wednesday of last week.

More than 7000 people were reported to have descended on the Columbia Road Christmas market, where the carol services have been held for several years. Media reports suggested that the influx of carollers was attributable to the fame that the annual events had gained on social media.

In a statement, the Vicar of St Peter’s, the Revd Heather Atkinson, and the churchwardens, Andrew Rixon and Maria Wyard, announced that further events, planned for 13 and 20 December, had been cancelled. They encouraged people to attend their local church services instead.

The crowds, they said, “were of such volume on the road that there was a danger to public safety. We are grateful to God and to those working at the event that there were no serious injuries.

“Columbia Road carols has been a great partnership between the shopkeepers on the road, the local community, and the parish church. As the church, we cherish these relationships. This decision is in support of our community, which had became dangerously overrun.”

Read more on this story in this week’s Press column here

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