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Christ Church will play host to Swindon ale and cider festival
Buy this photo » warden Gareth Hutchinson inside Christ Church Pictures: JAMES DOUGLAS
BEER lovers will be able to raise a glass to the heavens as an historic church opens it doors for an ale and cider festival.
It is thought to be the first event of its kind to be staged at a church in the town, although other churches across the UK have held similar events.
The event was the brainchild of Gareth Hutchinson, a warden at Christ Church, and he has been in talks with Pewsey’s Three Castles Brewery to help stage it.
The 29-year-old, of Old Town, said: “I’ve been a member of Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) for quite a while and so I go along to their beer festivals – I would travel a long way for a good beer.
“They are really popular events and Christ Church is looking at different ways to bring the community in.
“The church also is looking to fundraise for the church redevelopment so I came up with the idea of a beer festival.
“Old Town does not really have a proper beer festival and it’s very much about local and organic produce up here so that’s what we are trying to do.
“I’ve been working with the Three Castles Brewery and we are hoping to have a good selection of about 30 ales and ciders available.
“We will also have food laid on with Gloucester Old Spot hot dogs, supplied by Vowley farm at Royal Wootton Bassett, so it will be local food too.
“I’m not aware of any other beer festival in a church in Swindon but I know there have been some in other places. It will be a unique experience because the church itself is historical and it will be a nice setting.”
The Rev Simon Stevenette said: “People are really excited about it and I am looking forward to it.
“The church is a meeting place and so it’s all part of us welcoming people.
“It will raise funds for the church and be a real community event so I think it’s a great idea.
“I’m quite close to teetotal so I will just be helping in the background.”
The first Old Town Beer Festival will be held on May 18 at Christ Church, in Cricklade Street, between 1pm and 11pm.
There will be 30 cask ales and ciders and food will be available between 5pm and 7pm.
Entry costs £6 and includes a souvenir beer mug and programme. Tickets are available from Magnum wine shop, in Wood Street, or from christchurch swindon.co.uk/events.