WRESTLING matches involving dwarf competitors at the Corn Exchange in Devizes have been cancelled after the town council received a protest from a charity representing people with restricted growth.

RGA UK called the planned event called Dwarfanators an outdated spectacle.

After receiving the complaint on Friday town clerk Simon Fisher decided the wrestling match should be cancelled.

In a statement he said: "After careful consideration, the Corn Exchange has concluded that it is no longer appropriate that it hosts the Dwarfanators wrestling event on Thursday 25 October 2018.

"The venue took the booking in good faith, as it strives to be equally accessible to all members of the community irrespective of race, colour or ability and we believed that the event would offer enjoyable entertainment for all section of our community, being provided by performers who are locally underrepresented.

"Since taking the booking, it has become clear that many members of the dwarf community are subjected to higher than average levels of abuse and personal attack. Given the nature of the event, it is difficult to see how it would not suggest a level of credibility to the behaviour, which is shown towards members of the dwarf community and this is not something we as a venue can be associated with, however unintended.

"One of the core objectives of our venue is to provide a high quality service for the benefit its users and the community and whilst we recognise this booking does meet that objective for the hirer, in that it will provide a suitable venues for those members of the dwarf community who wish to provide entertainment, this has to be balanced against the disadvantage it brings to the wider dwarf community and therefore on balance, we have concluded that the negative impact it will have on the many has to outweigh the benefit it brings to the few."

He apologised to those who had wanted to attended and said: "However, if one thing has come from this, there needs to be a wider debate and awareness of the problems members of the dwarf community suffer, to ensure that in future informed decisions can be made."

The charity in its plea to the town council to cancel the wrestling on October 25 said: "A US company, touring the UK, runs this event. Publicity materials used by the company explicitly and repeatedly uses the word “midget”, which is deeply offensive to people with dwarfism and has strong historical associations with the Freak Shows of the early 20th century and before.

"Studies with dwarf people showed nearly 80 per cent had received verbal abuse, nearly two thirds often felt unsafe while out, a third had been touched by strangers, and 12 per cent had experienced violence."

Town council direct service manager Sarah Williams said: "The venue took the booking in good faith as we are an inclusive venue and believe that irrespective of race, colour or ability, those who wish to take part in a legal activity should not be particularly prevented from doing so as a result of prejudice.

"It’s clear that feeling are running high on both side of the argument, with concerns about how the event portrays dwarfism against the rights of individuals to exercise their legal right to perform as entertainers."

After taking advice the council decided to cancel the booking.