More than �3,000 raised at Caister lifeboat beer festival

LIFEBOATMEN in Caister had to come to the rescue of their own beer festival when too many pints were “sunk” by enthusiastic supporters.

Hundreds of people attended the three-day event which saw more than 30 real ales on offer and welcomed a host of live musicians.

However, the event proved to be so popular that organisers had to order more ale just two hours into the festival amid fears they were going to run out.

Locals flexed their muscles in an attempt to beat the lifeboat men at tug of war, but they were unable to claim a victory and real beer lovers took on the yard of ale challenge with the winner downing the 2.4 pints in 40 seconds.

Caister lifeboat chairman Paul Garrod said: “The festival was brilliant, it was absolutely fantastic.

“We raised around �3,000 and we made a profit. There was a great atmosphere.”

The money raised will go towards the lifeboat’s �160,000 annual running costs.

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A Johnny Cash tribute band helped to kick-start celebrations on Friday night and a jazz band got people in the festival spirit on Saturday followed by Scratch Band in the evening.

A selection of around 25 beers to sample was reduced to just five on Sunday so people were spared the entry fee.

Andy Garnett, who was in charge of ordering the 30 local brews, said the event was more popular than they anticipated.

“We sold more than 200 pints within the first two hours on the Friday night,” he said. “That was about 10pc of our total stock, so we got six more casks delivered immediately so it could settle in time.”

By the end of the Friday night two ales had run out - and panic set in. Andy added: “We managed to keep the beer flowing - but we were down to about 150 pints left by the end of the night.”

Former star of the BBC’s The Voice, Toni Warne, wowed crowds with a performance before signing autographs and meeting fans and surprise guest Vicky Matthews, daughter of Turkey tycoon Bernard Matthews who donated the lifeboat, joined in the celebrations with her family.

Paul said: “It was an honour for her to join us. It’s really nice that she came down. We would really like to keep the connection going with the Matthews family.”