PEOPLE stayed away from a Worcester fundraiser after discovering guest speaker, Mike Tindall, had just returned from coronavirus-hit Italy.

The former England rugby player, who is married to the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Tindall, was guest speaker at a charity event at Sixways, hosted by St Richard’s, which raised £24,000.

Mr Tindall returned from the town of Bormio in the virus-hit Lombardy region last week. A spokesman for Mr Tindall said he has been following official government and health advice, but as he does not currently have any symptoms, he would not be going into self-isolation.

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce was due to host a table for guests at the event, however after hearing the news, the majority took the decision not to attend. A spokesman said: “The Chamber of Commerce was due to host a table for guests at the event, however in light of the information that was available and sought at the time, the Chamber felt it appropriate to consult with its guests and give them the opportunity to make their own decision as to whether to attend.

“The majority of our invited businesses, each have their own policies as large companies, in relation to Covid-19 and reducing the risk of contracting the virus. Therefore, on balance, given that Mr Tindall had been in Bormio, Lombardy, in northern Italy (where there have been cases of coronavirus), the majority of businesses took the decision not to attend. We are delighted however, that the night was an outstanding success and look forward to continue supporting events in the two counties.”

Tricia Cavell, fundraising director at St Richard’s Hospice, said: “We held a Q&A event with Mike Tindall on Thursday evening, which raised money to support the free care we provide to patients and their families across Worcestershire.

“On the morning of the event, we became aware of media reports relating to Mr Tindall’s recent holiday in northern Italy. Mr Tindall’s team were immediately in touch to confirm that, having not been to any of the areas in lockdown, he was following government advice and also remained well in himself and symptom-free.

"Before the event took place, we made it a priority to contact guests who had booked tickets to ensure they were fully informed of the situation before attending.

“We’d like to thank everyone who joined us, helping raise in excess of £24,000 for our care services for local people.”