The Lord Mayor's Parade in Oxford is being cancelled for the first time in its 27-year history after the city council scaled down its support for the event.

Oxford Isis Lions Club, which organises the annual event, said it could not continue without the council's full backing.

The parade traditionally takes place at the end of May, but the council persuaded organisers to postpone it until September 18 because the Lord Mayor would not be elected until June this year.

It has now decided it will not be providing officers to organise the event because it cannot justify giving the parade more support than other community events.

It is agreeing to pay the usual £800 contribution -- the sum usually allocated for float prizes and entertainers, but this would now have to cover the entire cost of organising the event.

Tony Church, president of the Lions, has had to cancel all the entertainers and the charity is set to make a financial loss.

He said: "Due to the untenable situation that Oxford City Council have placed us in, the members of Oxford Isis Lions Club have taken the sad decision to cancel this year's event.

"It would appear that the council events team regards this as a community event and therefore the Lions should organise it and fund it.

"We disagree because this parade is held to celebrate the election of the Lord Mayor of Oxford. We haven't got the manpower or the money. Having been forced into this cancellation, we will suffer a financial loss that will influence the donations we make to local charities."

The parade, usually the Lord Mayor's first official engagement, was almost cancelled in 2002 due to a lack of public support, but was rescued following an Oxford Mail appeal.

The Lord Mayor, Bryan Keen, who is also a member and former president of the Oxford Lions, said: "It's disappointing but it has been an exceptional year.

"The city council has changed the way it operates Fun in the Parks and is classifying it as a community event, where I would call it a city event.

"It's not the end for the Lord Mayor's Parade and it will hopefully be back on next year."

Council spokesman Zoe Howard said: "We're still letting them use the park for free, but we will not be doing the organisational groundwork."