London, Nov 28 : Carol singing Brownies and Guides have been banned from a British shopping centre for the first time in 20 years over health and safety fears.
Girls, who range from children aged five to teenagers, have sung for pensioners at a special late night Christmas shopping event in Marlowes for more than a decade.
But the centre's managers decided that the group of more than 100 members of the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides should not be invited to this year' s event because they would obstruct fire escape routes, reports the Telegraph.
West Herts Guides Division Commissioner Gill Oxtoby said: "It is a big event for us. Last year we had more than 100 girls and they and the shoppers really enjoyed the singing.
"It's such a shame because it's been a long tradition going on for more than 20 years and has allowed the girls to give some service to the community.
"We weren't even told that we couldn't attend. I went to ask what date it was and that's when I found out."
The centre has offered to allow 20 girls to sing next Tuesday, but Oxtoby said: "We can't do that, it wouldn't be fair to the others."
Marketing manager Eileen Gannon said: "With changes made to the centre's Christmas decorations and trade units there simply isn't space for a huge number of performers. We're disappointed, but our priority has to be the safety of people inside the centre."