Great Torrington is holding a Virtual Mayfair today (Thursday, May 7) as an online replacement for what is normally the biggest event in the town’s calendar.

Virtual Mayfair shop window display in Great Torrington.Virtual Mayfair shop window display in Great Torrington.

With coronavirus cancelling the real thing, people are invited to join the cyber party on the Great Torrington Virtual Mayfair 2020 Facebook event page and share the celebration in their own homes.

The idea has captured the imagination around the town, with people decorating their homes and businesses with ribbons, bunting and maypoles.

They are also being encouraged to share their pictures and videos of Mayfairs past on the page, which will be bustling with activity throughout the day today.

Great Torrington mayor Keeley Allin said: “I, along with many others in Great Torrington am devastated that Mayfair 2020 had to be cancelled. “It is my favourite day of the year anyway, but as mayor, I was so excited to be able to show off my wonderful town to many visitors and other mayors from across Devon.

People around Great Torrington have been making decorations for the Virtual Mayfair on Facebook on Thursday, May 7.People around Great Torrington have been making decorations for the Virtual Mayfair on Facebook on Thursday, May 7.

“It is lovely to see so many people decorating their shops and houses and really getting into the spirit; I knew Great Torrington would not let this massive celebration go by without doing something.

“I am also enjoying looking back at years gone by, so many people have shared their memories and it really does feel as though we are all joining together in this difficult time.

“I want to thank everyone who has understood that our usual celebrations cannot take place and also thank you for making that extra effort to make people smile with all the lovely decorations.

“My thoughts also go out to all the children due to be involved, I hope you and your families have a lovely day however you choose to celebrate and we are all working to ensure you will all be celebrated.”

Still plaised to zee 'ee! Great Torrington is hosting a Virtual Mayfair for 2020.Still plaised to zee 'ee! Great Torrington is hosting a Virtual Mayfair for 2020.

Torrington Mayfair Committee said it was the first time the event had been cancelled since World War Two, with no band, crowing of the queen, maypole dancing, fair on Castle Hill or carnival.

But they said although it might not be the usual affair, Torrington would still be celebrating its Mayfair on Thursday, May 7.

Great Torrington School headteacher ANdy Bloodowrth said: “These may be unprecedented times but what has become clear is that the Great Torrington community will come out of it even stronger than what it was before. There is such a history and sense of community in Torrington, Mayfair is the shop window to the heart of the town.

“Covid-19 may have forced its cancellation this year but I am certain that the event will bounce back bigger and better than before and the community stronger and more united. If a town can find positives in this crisis Torrington is it.

“We are liaising with Bluecoats junior school and are planning ways to ensure the traditions of Mayfair royalty are maintained.”

Visit the Great Torrington Virtual Mayfair 2020 Facebook page to find out more.