BEER drinkers in Twyford will be raising their glasses after learning their efforts has made a charity £8,500 better off.
Last week, organisers of the village’s annual beer festival – which this year celebrated its 10th anniversary – announced that it was making a record donation to male cancer charity Orchid as a result of the event that took place in Stanlake Meadows last month.
And to crown what has been a remarkable year for the event, which is run completely by volunteers, the group’s leader, Ian Wisdom was awarded the Charity Support Award at the Twyford Together awards held on Monday, July 15.
Fighting back tears of emotion, Mr Wisdom – known affectionately to his friends as The Wiz – admitted that he hadn’t expected to win the Twyford Together award for Charity Support of the Year.
“I’m gobsmacked,” he said.
“My whole team have helped behind this to make this happen,” he said.
“Last year we raised five grand and this year we’ve upped it by three-and-a-half, which is an extraordinary sum.
“Let’s see what a difference that can make to the charity.”
The annual event sees Campaign for Real Ale supporters and local breweries come together for two days of beer drinking, music, food and fun.
This year’s event included a gin bar featuring some unusual tipples, a wide selection of perries and ciders and some special wines.
It was so popular that the festival sold out of most of its stock and extra supplies had to be brought in.
And to help Mr Wisdom and his team raise as much money as possible for Orchid, all the bands performing gave their time for free and the stage was a converted truck, also donated for the event.
“The festival only happens thanks to a lot of people coming together to help and it’s the people who come along and drink the beer. It’s the bands that say part,” he said.
“Over the last 10 years, the phenomenal support we’ve achieved, we’ve had from everybody as has just made the whole thing come together.
“And it is just unbelievable the amount of time that people will help and throw into this.
“I’m always, absolutely both grateful and surprised by the amount of effort and time given by my team as we put this thing together, through the event and even afterwards, with the tearing down of the site, which is also equally important.”
Visitors this year were also able to meet representatives from Orchid and talk to them about different forms of male cancer. One of the team members visiting was the charity’s CEO, Rebecca Porta.
Mr Wisdom said: “We were so pleased to see Rebecca come down to see us.”
Although the £8,500 is a massive sum to the charity, Mr Wisdom is hoping to raise even more over the year: he will be helping with the bar at Wokingham Festival over the August bank holiday weekend as well as running other events. Earlier in the year, other team members took part in a willy waddle where they wore inflatable penis costumes to collect donations from pub-goers in Reading’s town centre.
Mr Wisdom said: “I know that the money is going to make a phenomenal difference overall. Everything that goes towards the charity helps not just the male cancers, but also the female cancers as well.”
Now tentative plans are being made for next year’s event, but Mr Wisdom wants more help so the event can be even more successful.
“Let’s see what we can do next year,” he said. “It really depends on whether or not I can get enough people to help.
“Can we get more team members to come along and assist with what we do?”