Religious twist to church beer festival

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The Crypt at St Anthony's church. Pic by Laura Hughes © JMU Journalism

The Crypt at St Anthony’s Church. Pic by Laura Hughes © JMU Journalism

Ale lovers got the chance to enjoy a pint beneath the arches of the historic St Anthony’s Church in Vauxhall this weekend.

The ‘Ales from the Crypt’ beer festival, which featured 30 different beers and five ciders, first began in 2007.

The Grade 2 listed St Anthony’s building on Scotland Road made a unique and atmospheric venue. The narrow arched coves of brick are inverted to form ovals, each containing hundreds of burial vaults.

This will be the final event hosted by Parish Priest Graeme Dunne as he bids farewell to the church later this year.

Father Dunne told JMU Journalism: “It’s the last festival that I will be running because I’ve moved on to a church in Chorley now so it’s unfair for me to try to continue this. You never know, the new parish priest might want to continue this it has been a great success over the years.

“When I first came to the church I thought it was the ideal place to have a beer festival and it was a good way of getting people who wouldn’t normally come to church to see that it is more than just what goes on on a Sunday.”

More than 300 tickets were sold, with money raised going towards the upkeep of the crypt. In previous years, the money was used for a memorial to the paupers who died during the Irish potato famine. Any cash left over from unused tokens this year will be donated to Downs Syndrome charity.

Ales from the Crypt. Pic by Laura Hughes © JMU Journalism

Ales from the Crypt. Pic by Laura Hughes © JMU Journalism

The event was sponsored by the regeneration company, St Modwen, which is currently working on the local £150m Project Jennifer scheme, which includes building a huge new district centre.

St Modwen regional director, Steven Knowles, told JMU Journalism: “This area has gone from being one of the most deprived areas in the country to now having a real future, but it starts with places like this where the community come together.

“Being the type of company that we are, we love getting involved in a lot of schemes where the community is at the heart of it. If we find something which is very well supported by the local people then we tend to try to help out with it and put some money in to it and just keep it going.”

About Laura Hughes, JMU Journalism