VILLAGERS packed into the Ellendune Community Centre on Saturday for Wroughton’s first beer and cider festival.

On what turned out to be a cold and damp November day, families and friends sought shelter in the ample surrounds of the hall to sample some fantastic local produce.

The event was inspired by other similar beer festivals in the Swindon area.

Tracey Masters, who manages the centre, explained how the idea came about.

“We’re involved in a thing called the community centre network,” she said. “We get together to discuss issues and share ideas.

“One of the other centres in the network is Christchurch in Old Town – they’ve been holding a beer festival for four or five years now and it’s been really successful. We had been thinking about trying something similar in Wroughton. A few months ago we thought ‘why not, let’s go for it.’

“I’m really pleased people have come out to support the event.

“It was ambitious but I think we’ve done exceptionally well.

“Part of what we want to achieve here is to make this more of a hub for the community - we want to encourage people to come in and realise what facilities we’ve got.

“This won’t be the last big event we do.”

By mid-afternoon, the idea to hold a beer festival in the hall was looking more and more inspired – the tables were full with conversations, and booze, in full flow.

Much of the beer and cider was laid on by the team from Three Castles Brewery in Pewsey who were keen to get onboard from the very start of the project.

They brought along a special brew – The Ellendune – named after the community centre itself made specially for the event.

As well as the liquid refreshment, there was also a selection of homemade pies, burgers and sausages served by the team from Wilson’s family butchers in Old Town.

In addition to the beer laid on by the brewery, there were also a number of guest beers from local producers including Old Town Brewery, Hop Kettle in Cricklade and Circle Cider.

Looking after the local selection was Nick Tarling, Wroughton resident and beer blogger.

He was delighted to have the festival right on his doorstep.

“When I moved here, I was quite surprised there wasn’t a beer festival already,” he said. “After all it’s quite a big village.

“My blogging and reviewing has given me a lot of exposure to breweries and events like this so I was really please to come onboard and help out. I’m pleased we could get the local names involved too.

“I’m impressed with how it’s come off and I’m looking forward to next year.”