Friends of Didsbury Beer Festival gathered at St Catherine’s Social Club on Didsbury’s School Lane on Saturday to toast the success of the event as the organisers presented cheques worth £12,000 to charity.
Guests raised their pint glasses whilst chairmen Phil Saunders and Jeff Seneviratne handed over £6,000 to both Christie Hospital and Cornerstone Day Centre, last year’s chosen charities.
“The objective of the Festival is to raise money for relatively small, local charities so that we can give them money that will make a real difference to the community,” said Seneviratne.
“We hope that £6k will be a reasonable boost to their funds and work,” added Saunders.
The third annual Didsbury Beer Festival, which took place on the last weekend in October 2010, was the biggest to date, welcoming over 3,500 punters through its doors to sample up to 130 different beers, ciders and perries ciders. The event is run entirely by volunteers.
Christie Friends earmarks funds for Christie cancer patients who are suffering from financial hardship brought about by their illness. The charity works to raise the standard of living for those who may have had to give up work to support family members or those who need help buying chairlifts for their homes, for example.
Sue Royle, who works as a Voluntary Service Manager for the Christie Trust and also volunteers for Christie Friends, said: “I was completely staggered when I heard the amount of money that we were being given and very grateful to the organisers. I run fundraising events for Christie Friends and £6,000 will double our income for the whole year. “We’ll be able to help twice as many people as last year with things like holidays and relieving their debts.”
Sister Lucy and Tony Murray collected the cheque for Cornerstone Day Centre, a Moss Side based drop-in centre for the homeless and disadvantaged. The charity offers a range of services, including meals, showers, a clothing store, a computer suite, TV and housing advice to its 200 plus daily visitors, as well as a programme of leisure events.
[nggallery id=14] All photography by Tom Biddle
Said Murray: “We have to raise a quarter of a million pounds each year to do what we do. This donation will help us meet our mountain of expense.
“People come here in bits and it’s our job to help them put the bits back together again. If people eat well and are clean, their dignity is restored and they can begin to feel good about themselves.”
Added Sister Lucy: “The people at the Didsbury Beer Festival have been an inspiration to us. I was very impressed with the huge number of people that turned out and none of them were too drunk, they were just enjoying themselves.”
Following the cheque presentations on Saturday evening, guests were treated to a hot pot supper and real ales, then hit the dancefloor as local mod tribute band Modern World performed songs from the likes of The Jam, Paul Weller, Small Faces and The Who.
The fourth Didsbury Beer Festival will take place on 27th to 29th October 2011.