Barrow beerfest fans’ show of support for Hawcoat Sports and Social club
Last updated at 18:15, Monday, 21 October 2013
HUNDREDS of discerning real ale enthusiasts descended on a threatened Barrow sports club for its fourth annual beer festival.
The organisers of Hawcoat Park Beer Festival, in Hawcoat Park Sports and Social Club, say fears that the club could close are “very real” after the withdrawal of sponsorship from BAE left an annual financial black hole of £65,000 in its accounts.
The festival is always considered one of the most important events in the club’s calendar, but the circumstances surrounding this year’s event gave it extra significance.
Andy Woods, general manager of the social club, said: “Thursday night was similar to last year, we had about 70 people in. On Friday it was quite steady up until 7pm but then it just went mental!
“People seem to be staying longer this year, we have been busy right up until midnight. It takes almost a year to plan the festival so seeing it all come together is a huge relief.”
Mr Woods said around 1,100 pints had been sold on the Friday night of the festival.
Although the money raised at the event is already accounted for, the chance to spread the message about supporting the club was considered vital by its committee.
Bob Woods, a director at the club, said: “People need to understand that this is real. As it stands the club will be closing next year unless we can get the funding.”
One ray of hope for the future of Hawcoat Park is the ‘Save our Club’ campaign, which aims to source funding from the local community.
Mr Woods said: “We have got 200 to 300 juniors in the club playing rugby league, rugby union, football and cricket. Where do they go if we have to fold? The other clubs in the town won’t be able to support them all.
“It’s not just the sports, we have a lot of events here as well like the beer festival and motorcycle festival. People have wedding events here and it will be a huge loss to the community.”
Punters at the event also shared their concerns.
Jonny Hill, 37, from Barrow, described BAE’s decision to withdraw its sponsorship as “scandalous.”
He said: “Something needs to be done. I don’t see with the profits BAE make they have decided to do this for the sake of £65,000 a year.
“The festival seems to be better organised this year, they have all the beers on hand pulls which is good.”
One way to support the future of the club is by joining the Unity lottery fund, which gives participants the chance to donate £1 a week, with the chance to win £25,000.
For more information visit www.unitylottery.co.uk or call 0870 050 9240.
First published at 16:00, Monday, 21 October 2013
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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