Spirits set to be raised as Albrighton’s heavenly Beer Festival returns

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A heavenly Beer Festival is set to return to a Shropshire village this weekend and is asking local parishioners to enjoy a tipple to get them over their fundraising target.

Frank Aston with Mary Thomas, Vicar at St Mary’s Magdalene
Frank Aston with Mary Thomas, Vicar at St Mary’s Magdalene

St Mary Magdalene Church in Albrighton will play host to the 6th annual event on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 May and is expecting to mark the occasion by finally smashing through the £55,000 needed to complete the restoration project in the Chancel, including work on the medieval stonework and glass for the stunning East and 19th century Warrington windows.

Hundreds of real ale and cider enthusiasts will descend on the unlikely venue for a ‘pint’ and to enjoy live music from 10 fantastic acts, including Jones & The Fast Lane, Neu’Shea, The InnMates and Shalane and Rock&Roll Pete.

The Dirty Rockin’ Scoundrels will also return by popular demand after rocking the altar and pulpit last year, bringing the curtain down on 16 hours of festivities when they headline on the Saturday evening.

Only a few thousand pounds remain to hit the fundraising target for the stained-glass window and, if previous events are anything to go by, this will be met during the two days with additional money taken being used for further restoration work required to maintain the  church’s unique appearance and create a new community room.

“We’ve had a lot of kind donations in the last few months and are now in touching distance of the money we need to finally restore the East window to its former glory, repairing cracking, stonework and dropped joints in the tracery,” explained Mary Thomas, Vicar at St Mary Magdalene.

“What better way to celebrate and tip us over the mark then to enjoy a good time with friends and family at our Beer Festival, one of our most successful fundraising activities of the year.”

She continued: “Everyone in the village comes out in force to support us and enjoy 15 different beers, 6 ciders, wine and some great tasting snacks.

“The breweries and cider makers have been magnificent again, with Ashover, Chapel, Gwatkin, Hurst View, Lilly’s, Monty’s, New Brew, Salopian and, for the first time, Three Tuns, getting involved.

“A special mention to Lymestone too, who, as well as providing us with great ales, has also loaned us the equipment free of charge.”

Originally the brainchild of Organist Gerald Leach, with the support of the previous Vicar,  The Revd. Gill Warren, the St Mary Magdalene Beer Festival first started in 2013 and in that time has attracted over 2500 people and showcased in excess of 40 different beers and ciders.

The festival starts on Friday (6-11pm) and runs all day on Saturday (midday to 11pm).

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