After some discussion we have regretfully decided that we will not be taking part in International Lighthouses and Lightships on the Air in 2020.
Although there are about 7 weeks to the actual event on 22/23 August 2020 and the organisers have indicated that they will allow the event to take place, it is incumbent upon each participating group or individual to assess the risks to themselves, their hosts and the public.
We are, of course, beholden to and bound by the rules and decisions of our hosting organisation, the Cabot Cruising Club, who at present have not indicated what their plans are for re-opening their clubhouse on the John Sebastian Lightvessel 55 nor what their interim rules and procedures might be in terms of things like, but not limited to: maximum occupancy, access to the John Sebastian Lightship, use of on-board facilities such as the toilet and/or galley, activity on deck etc.
We are also conscious that there is an important group of members within the Club who fall into more vulnerable categories or have members of their household who fall into more vulnerable categories that would preclude them from safely taking part and enjoying the event if it went ahead.
Rather than go ahead and try to organise a limited event we have decided that it is wiser all round to withdraw from the event this year and return next year when, hopefully, circumstances will be more akin to those that prevailed in previous years and a good turnout can be encouraged.
The final Special Event this year is Railways on the Air at the end of September 2020. We remain hopeful that we can still participate in this event. The Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust are planning to re-open partially from 20 July 2020 when they will re-open their buffet car, and they also plan to reintroduce passenger train rides from 2 August 2020.
These re-openings will naturally be with restrictions and limitations which might ease between now and the end of September 2020, however provided that:
- The Trust are prepared to allow us to operate, albeit with restrictions and limitations;
- We feel that we can safely operate a station or stations within the imposed restrictions and limitations; and
- We can muster a few warm bodies at various times over the weekend to operate;
then I would like to see if an activation is possible.
We will contact the Trust after they have resumed passenger train rides and have working experience of numbers and operating within COVID restrictions to seek their view.