HIGHWORTH Hotel was the centre of attention over the bank holiday weekend as hundreds swarmed to enjoy the town’s first beer festival.

Landlords Michael Clitheroe and Pauline Gibson, along with their eight-year-old pooch Jazz, took on the venue in November and planned the weekend of food, booze and live music to bring the community together.

Michael said: “There’s been huge community support and without them we wouldn’t be here, and this is part of that. We wanted to do something different, but that was fun as well.

“It’s always been the heart of the community here but it’s had a bit of a chequered past. We’ve been trying to turn all that around and one of the first things we wanted to do was open it up to seven days a week, which we have been since the first of February.”

With at least 19 beers on tap at any one time, the weekend showcased about seven ciders and about 50 real ales all from the surrounding areas, including the Cotswolds, Salisbury, Bath and Gloucester, with some guest ales coming from Wales.

As part of the festival, the pub also hosted a barbecue on Saturday, a hog roast yesterday, and there was live music from the Jo Farrell Band, No Middle Ground and popular buskers Josie and the Outlaw.

“It puts us on the map and introduces us to people as the new landlords,” said Michael. “I think more needs to be done to support the community in Highworth and through this I am hoping it will get people together and show that things are going on.”