Article by Guy Bell: Bottomless barrels of booze were in abundance at this year's beer festival in Billericay.
The three-day festival, hosted by Billericay Lions, ran at Billericay Town FC in Blunts Wall Road from Friday to Sunday.
Pints from breweries in Billericay and Brentwood were among the 50 on the bar menu, while ciders ranging from four to 7.2 per cent ABV went down a treat.
Sunday was known as Harry's Day, in memory of two-year-old Harry Smith, who died from leukaemia in 2009.
His parents Jim and Karen set up the charity as a way of thanking Great Ormond Street Hospital for their help trying to save Harry's life.
Pete Claughton, a Lions member for eight years, was among the bar staff who helped serve the huge variety of drinks at the club's sixth annual beer festival.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Mr Claughton"]We had a very successful weekend. There was music on the football pitch as we had a marquee in the middle of the ground. Crawdaddy provided all the music this year and we had over 50 real ales and 25 ciders.[/quote]
Harry's Day offered visitors a chance to take in a more relaxed atmosphere.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Pete"]Harry's Day is a big day in Billericay. One of the main organisers works at the Railway Hotel and we said to them 'why don't you bring all your stuff down to the beer festival?' For the last couple of years we have had them down on the Sunday.[/quote]
There was plenty of music throughout the weekend, with performances from bands including Bad Influence, The Heaters, The Blues Spiders and Split Whiskers.
The Lions Club raises money to be spent in the local community, as well as contributing to a bigger international pot.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Pete"]The Lions are the biggest voluntary service in the world but we are probably the least well known, even though we are a global organisation. Most of the money we raise goes towards local projects and we have just helped the local cricket club pay the entry into the league for a disabled team. On the Friday we had a visit from Essex Search and Rescue because we raised £2,000 for them and we handed the big cheque over. Langdon Crescent Hall needed some CCTV and we helped pay for that. All the money we raise we try to spend on the local community.[/quote]
The beers and ciders were so popular the brewery company was called to refill the casks and Pete is waiting to add up the bills before any funds can be added to the charity purse.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Pete"]The money we raise will go into our charity account and we will spend it as we get requests. We also have a Santa sleigh ride at Christmas, which is our other big event and we run quizzes and other fundraising events. I have a little bit of time off before I am behind the bar for the Chelmsford Lions Beer Festival.[/quote]
Article by Brentwood Gazette, Guy Bell