Hastings Jack in the Green founder warns event will have to be scaled back due to cuts
and live on Freeview channel 276
The free event, which takes place around the first May bank holiday, sees the streets lined with thousands of people watching a colourful procession move through the streets of the the Old Town before gathering on the West Hill to enjoy an afternoon of dancing and music.
It is one of the biggest May events in England and this year celebrates its 40th anniversary.
It attracts people from all over the world, with one participant even flying in from Canada every year.
Keith Leech MBE, who founded Jack in the Green 40 years ago with Lynda Ridley, explained that the council usually helps to fund stalls, toilets and other facilities for the thousands of people who gather on the West Hill.
He said: “It is upsetting seeing 40 years of work getting this town on the map, organising events for free, all about to disappear.
"Enjoy Jack in the Green this year folks, because it will be the last big one. Due to funding cuts its looking like we will have no choice but to scale it right back. We will try to do what we can and whatever happens the Jack in the Green will go out in 2024, but it may be a much smaller event.
"What I am failing to see, is why a tourist town has decided to basically cut all its events that it has become famous for. The fish festivals have been affected and and most of the venues are now closing.
"This is incredibly short sighted and will not only make the town culturally poorer, but also economically poorer.”
Keith, who also launched the bonfire revival in Hastings and is chair of the Hastings Old Town Carnival Committee, added: "I would like to thank all those people who have joined us on this journey and helped to put Hastings on the map. So many local people have freely given time and energy. It saddens me greatly to see all this hard work going overnight due to funding cuts. Its incredibly short-sighted and ultimately damaging.”
A Hastings Borough Council spokesperson said: “The funding is there for the Jack in the Green event in 2023 and 2024. No decision has been taken for after that yet, and we are having meetings with the groups and organisations involved to look at the most sustainable way for this unique event to continue.”