Each year, the Weston Lions Real Ale and Cider Festival is held on the beach lawns in Weston-super-Mare in July.

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the charity beer festival was warmly welcomed back in 2022. Last year’s festival reached new records as 26 different types of cider and 39 varieties of beer were supplied by breweries in the Somerset and Bristol area. When the Real Ale and Cider Festival first began in 2008, there were just under 40 types of beer and cider on offer in total – with just two to three people serving behind the bar.

Weston Mercury: Weston Lions members getting ready behind the bar

In 2022, as local breweries showcased their broader ranges, as well as their usual crowd pleasers – a whooping 18,878 pints were served, and there were 25 to 30 volunteers behind the bar to attend to all the festival goers. 2023’s selection of drinks is looking to be just as thirst-quenching – if not more so!

This year’s four-day festival, from July 27-30, includes a charity race night and dinner on Thursday 27, where groups are invited to book a table and enjoy a three-course celebration buffet whilst betting on the ‘horses’ and being the first to taste and try the cider and beer options.

The marquee is then transformed ready to welcome the first punters on Friday 28 from 11am. Then, each day, live music will be performed by up-and-coming local talents to well-known bands.

Weston Mercury: The festival will be held on the Beach Lawns in Weston-super-Mare Pictures: Weston LionsThe festival will be held on the Beach Lawns in Weston-super-Mare Pictures: Weston Lions

In total, the Weston Lions Real Ale and Cider Festival has raised more than £330,000 for charities over its 14-year history. This year’s beneficiaries are Pancreatic Cancer UK, GoKidsGo!, Weston Hospicecare and SANDS. And that’s what the festival is actually all about – raising money to support good causes. The ethos of the Lions Club is ‘to serve’, and the festival is run and organised by the local Weston Lions and volunteers so the takings over the weekend can go to the charities, organisations and individuals that really need them.

The Weston Lions Club has around 25 members who work together to support the local community. The Club was started by Bryan Fowler in 1968 and has grown in strength ever since. Sadly, Bryan passed away in 2020 but his passion for the Lions lives on and this year, ‘The Pride of Weston Lions Award’ was founded to commemorate his memory.

The Weston Lions play a large and important part in the local community. The Lions organise and co-host the Mud Master Obstacle Course Race at Puxton Park, organise and aid the annual Visually Impaired Bowls Tournament, issued the Brean Down Way Mile Markers, started GoKidsGo!, support and fund welfare requests from individuals, and maintain the floral clock in Weston town centre – plus, so much more

The upcoming Real Ale and Cider Festival is an event the Lions are particularly proud of – but it is not commonly known how much the Lions actually do, not just for this festival and its beneficiaries – but for the community.

To learn more about the Weston Lions Club, or to get involved, by emailing: info@wsmlions.co.uk or visit www.facebook.com/lionsclubwsm

For more on the Real Ale and Cider Festival, see www.facebook.com/westonlionsrealalefestival