Premier League football matches are to be postponed this weekend after the death of the Queen, but theatres will stay open and other mass events are expected to go ahead during the 10-day period of official mourning.
The Great North Run said its races would start on Sunday, arguing that the 60,000 runners participating would raise £25m for charity, “a fitting tribute to the Queen, who lived her life in the service of our country and its people”.
A similar justification was cited by the London to Brighton bike ride, also confirmed as taking place on Sunday. “We have a huge responsibility to both our charities who rely on the substantial amount of moneys that are raised and to you the participants who have trained so hard,” the organisers said.
Theatres are expected to remain open from Friday night and throughout the period of national mourning up until the funeral, although UK Theatre and the Society of London Theatres said lights would be dimmed for two minutes at 7pm each evening.
National guidance states there is “no obligation to cancel or postpone events and sporting fixtures” during the period of mourning, leaving the decision up to individual organisations as to whether to go ahead.
Events clashing with the state funeral – the date of which is not yet set but is expected to be Monday 19 September – are much more likely to be put off, with the government suggesting none too subtly that organisers might act “as a mark of respect”.
The Premier League appeared to be something of an outlier, with most other sporting events including Premiership rugby fixtures and Super League games going ahead. The England men’s cricket Test against South Africa will resume after a day’s hiatus on Friday.
Public opinion appears not to favour the cancellation of events over the mourning period, and some organisers said another factor in decision-making was that it was felt unlikely that insurance policies would pay out if an event was put off.
Thursday’s night’s Mercury prize at the Apollo theatre in Hammersmith was postponed at the last minute, with performers arriving at the venue around the time the Queen’s death was announced. One source said the decision cost £1m but that organisers had little choice given the clash of circumstances.
London fashion week, scheduled to run from Friday next week until the following Monday, is due to go ahead in a subdued form, although events scheduled for the likely state funeral day are expected to be rearranged.
The event organisers, the British Fashion Council, said “all non-core business events on the official schedule should be cancelled”, including parties and openings, as a mark of respect. Burberry cancelled its planned runway show next Friday.
The Hackney carnival in London, a celebration of African-Caribbean culture, due to take place on Sunday, was cancelled by Hackney council on Friday morning, prompting local complaints.
The council said it was acting in response to the 10-day mourning period, and added: “We know many people will feel extremely disappointed, and we are sorry for the sadness and upset this will cause.”