FEARS over the coronavirus outbreak have now led to the postponement of the Chester Diversity Ball due to be held in May.

More than three years of planning have gone into organising the flagship event, the first of its kind in the UK, which was to be held at Chester Cathedral.

It will now be rescheduled for spring next year.

Organiser Joel Josephson said: "Of course we are very disappointed after so much effort has been put it into this from so many people, particularly all our volunteers.

"But people’s health comes first and following council and government advice we became convinced it was prudent to postpone."

The event was expected to attract 1,200 people to Chester Cathedral on May 22 for a celebration of the city’s diversity and inclusiveness, irrespective of ethnicity, sexual orientation and ability/disability, with a full programme of live music, a diversity fashion show, sign language choir and a charity auction planned.

The Ball will now be held on a date to be confirmed in late May 2021.

Ticket sales had been brisk but began to slow as the potential effects of the virus outbreak on large gatherings became clear. Staff at Chester Cathedral will now contact ticket holders to arrange refunds if required.

Despite the disappointment, Mr Josephson remains upbeat.

He said: "This is not the end of the UK’s first diversity ball. We now have a chance to make next year’s inaugural event even bigger and better."

It is hoped that the Ball will become a major annual event in Chester’s social calendar and, as a registered charity, raise funds for institutions that help integrate the community.

You can register your interest for next year’s ball at diversityball.co.uk/register-your-interest/