Christmas carol services cancelled after 7,000 show up

(Photo: TikTok/Nick Waplington)

Planned outdoor carol services have been called off over safety fears after attracting unexpectedly large crowds.

Some 7,000 people turned up to the first singalong held last week at Columbia Road's Christmas market in the Bethnal Green area of east London. 

Footage from last week's carols shared on TikTok showed a tightly packed crowd in the street. 

Additional carol services were due to be held in the lead-up to Christmas on Wednesday 13 and 20 December but these have now been cancelled over concerns that they are "a danger to public safety".

The Guardian reports that it was the Tower Hamlets council and police that had advised the cancellations.

The services were organised by St Peter's Bethnal Green. The church's vicar, the Rev Heather Atkinson, said it was the right decision for the community because the event had become "dangerously overrun".

She said she was "grateful to God and to those working at the event that there were no serious injuries".

"Columbia Road carols has been a great partnership between the shopkeepers on the road, the local community and the parish church. As the church, we cherish these relationships," she said.

"This decision is in support of our community which had become dangerously overrun. Furthermore, this decision is on the strong advice of the police and local authority. We sincerely hope that the shops will now be able to remain open on Wednesday evenings."