ORGANISERS of a motor rally event have been forced to cancel the run on the grounds of safety following damage in the area from Storm Arwen.

A spokesman from the Hippo Motor Group Grizedale Stages Rally 2021 said: "Storm Arwen has reaped considerable damage to the forests, which the organising team had surveyed over this past weekend and hoped could be cleared in time.

"However, whilst there is a slim possibility of re-opening most of the forest tracks in time, there remains an unacceptable and significant danger posed by the truncated ends of trees protruding, and semi-fallen trees mean that the spectator areas remain fundamentally unsafe. The forests are currently closed to all users.

"To the organising team, this is a hammer blow for all our hundreds of hours spent working on preparing the rally, as well as the considerable costs incurred so far.

"We acknowledge competitors, marshals and officials will also have laid out a lot of money and will be as disappointed as we are to be in this situation.

"Clearly it is beyond anyones control. To put it in perspective, the villages of Coniston and Ambleside have been without power since Friday night.

"A further statement will be issued on the future of the rally, whether we can just postpone or whether this is complete cancellation.

"We will commit to refunding competitors their entry fees (less the admin charge – sorry) and everyone who bought car park tickets will get an automatic refund.

"We thank everyone who entered, who volunteered, who supplied and helped us. Gutted doesn’t begin to cover it."