Charities’ cheer over beer bonus

Hartlepool Beer Festival co-organiser and Round Table chairman Graeme Smith (pictured) has hailed the event a success despite numbers and takings being down on last year, and says all the money raised will stay in Hartlepool to benefit local charities.
Hartlepool Beer Festival co-organiser and Round Table chairman Graeme Smith (pictured) has hailed the event a success despite numbers and takings being down on last year, and says all the money raised will stay in Hartlepool to benefit local charities.
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CHARITY chiefs are raising a glass after receiving cash donations from the organisers of Hartlepool Beer Festival.

Hartlepool & District Hospice, the RNLI and the North East division of the Ocean Youth Trust were among the charities to benefit from the proceeds of the festival, which was held at the Borough Hall on the Headland last month and raised £12,000.

Although takings from the 16th annual supping session were down on last year, when £16,500 was raised, the event was still hailed a success by organisers, Hartlepool Round Table.

Chairman Graeme Smith has pledged that all the cash will stay in Hartlepool and be distributed around the charities he nominated as part of his duties at the helm of the organisation.

Graeme said the drop in takings was due to a fall in the number of people buying the £12 tickets to visit the festival, which he put down to the recession and the squeeze on peoples’ disposable income.

He said: “Times are much harder this year than they were last year. People are staying in more and having a drink at home because they simply haven’t got the cash to go out.

“But on the plus side, we still got 1,250 people through the door over the two days and raised a significant amount for local charities.”

Hartlepool & District Hospice was earmarked to receive £4,000, while the North-East branch of the Ocean Youth Trust, which operates in Hartlepool, got a cash injection of £2,500 and the Hartlepool RNLI gained by £500.

A spokesman for Hartlepool & District Hospice said: “We would like to thank the Hartlepool Round Table for choosing Hartlepool & District Hospice as the main beneficiary of the Beer Festival. The hospice provides a wide range of specialist services including a day hospice, inpatient unit, lymphoedema clinic, bereavement services and complimentary therapies, all of which are free of charge, but not free to provide. So the support of the local community and organisations such as the Round Table is a huge boost.”

Steve Lennon, the general manager of the Ocean Youth Trust North, said: “The Round Table’s show of support for the trust through the Beer Festival is invaluable. We are delighted to be associated with them and will ensure that all the money is put towards voyages for young people in the Hartlepool area on our vessel, the James Cook.”

Michael Charlton, the RNLI fundraising manager for the North-East, said: “The RNLI couldn’t exist without donations and it is fundraising like this and the generosity of the public that keeps our volunteer lifeboat crews trained, equipped and ready to save lives at sea.”

The Round Table has also donated to three of its own charities, including the Children’s Wish, which aids youngsters facing life-threatening illnesses nominated by friends or family and will receive £1,000.

Others are the 41 Club, which is run by former Round Table members and has its own list of charities and stands to gain £500, and the Hartlepool Ladies’ Circle, which is an off-shoot of the Round Table itself and has also benefited by £500.

The remaining £3,000 will be held by the Hartlepool Round Table to be distributed to worthy causes in the town throughout the year.