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Another Huge success at the beer festival

EVERY Old Town Beer Festival at Christ Church has been blessed with glorious sunshine and this weekend was no exception as hundreds raised a glass to the beautiful weather.

More than 3,500 pints of beer and cider were guzzled as revellers poured into the church and the community centre yesterday to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy around 36 different beers and 15 ciders on offer.

One of the quickest to sell out was the Cairngorm Gold continental beer with a fresh and zesty flavour. Followed close behind was the Stevenette’s Sprint, created by Three Castles in Pewsey and named especially in honour the church vicar, the Rev Simon Stevenette, who also blessed the ale.

And former Swindon Town player and local legend Don Rogers officially declared the festival opened before having a sip of the Stevenette’s Sprint himself.

The man behind the event is Chris Smith, who runs the community centre next to the church and spent six months organising the festival, now in its fourth year.

“I don’t think I’ve slept this week. I was awake at 4.30am,” the 35-year-old joked.

“The atmosphere has been mad. There has been so many people, around 650 and we are running out of drink.

“We sold out of tickets in seven days and my favourite thing about it is the way people enjoy it and everyone being here together.

“I think because it’s at a church that is what the appeal is, everyone loves thinking I’m on a pew having a beer.

“It’s a big money earner for the church and the community. It normally raises about £4,000 which is a significant amount that can be reused in the community.”

And he added: “We have had so many people help us, especially the Hop Inn and Los Gatos, Magnums Wine and Three Castles who provided all the beers.”

During the day there was also cupcakes, beer, pizzas and pies, as well as a beer flavoured ice cream created by Rays Ice Cream shop.

An auction, which included a football shirt signed by Don Rogers, raised hundreds of pounds for the stillbirth and neonatal charity SANDS as well.

This afternoon celebrations will continue with a beer and hymns from 4.30pm.

But another important part about the festival was about bringing people together.

Canon Stevenette, who has been the vicar of the church since 1998, was mingling with visitors, offering advice and enjoying a pint of beer too.

“It is magnificent," he said. "There has been so many conversations and so much goodwill here.

"It reminds people that it is their church and it breaks down some of the barriers, as the church is for everybody

“Having Don Rogers here this morning opening the festival was very moving and to have my name on a beer is quite something, I have got a little bit of a lump in the throat.

“We are very blessed with the weather, great atmosphere, loads of friendship and we are delighted about it."

Report taken from Swindon Advertiser 15th May 2016

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Published on 23 May 2016.
Last edited on 23 May 2016.
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