Weston Lions cancel festival which has raised £350k for good causes

PUBLISHED: 08:00 09 April 2020

Weston Lions Club Real Ale and Cider Festival.    Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Weston Lions Club Real Ale and Cider Festival. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

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Weston Lions has cancelled its Real Ale and Cider Festival this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Weston Lions Club Real Ale and Cider Festival.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONWeston Lions Club Real Ale and Cider Festival. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Event organisers ‘greatly appreciate’ supporters for their generosity, who have raised more than £350,000 for good causes over the festival’s 12-year history.

Charities including Weston Hospice Care, Crossroads Young Carers, RNLI and the Great Western Air Ambulance Service have benefitted from funds raised by the real ale festival.

In a letter to sponsors of the event, Weston Lions’ John Holland said: “It is with great regret we have decided to cancel the Real Ale and Cider Festival planned for this year.

Weston Lions Club Real Ale and Cider Festival.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONWeston Lions Club Real Ale and Cider Festival. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

“We greatly appreciate the support and friendship you have given us over the past 12 years and, with your help, thousands of pounds have been raised to help many people and good causes.

“We are very aware the coronavirus pandemic will have an enormous financial impact on many national and local businesses, and we think it would be impertinent of us to ask for your sponsorship when you have far more important issues to deal with.”

The first real ale festival was held in 2008, following a visit to Bristol Beer Festival, when the Lions collaborated with Cllr Elfan Ap Rees and his daughter Claire, who already had a successful fun day at Beach Lawns.

Weston Lions Club Real Ale and Cider Festival.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONWeston Lions Club Real Ale and Cider Festival. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

The partnership lasted three years before the festival became its own event, which originally only sold beer and now offers people cider, wine and ale, as well as having a gin wagon appear at the event last year.

Many suppliers have been at the festival from the very beginning, including Barny Lee Marquees, Brandon Hire, Vanguard Security and Pitchfork Ales, along with food concessionaires such as James Horrigan specialising in pork and Jackie Nicholls serving beef burgers and sausages.

The letter continued: “When this pandemic is over, we will start planning for 2021 and we hope you will be able to support us again. If you have already paid for this year’s sponsorship, we will arrange to reimburse you shortly. If you have any questions, then please do not hesitate to contact me.

“Thank you all for your support to our Lions club and can we hope you all stay healthy during these troubled times.”

To contact John, email lionsrealale@wsmlions.co.uk














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