By losing the pubs its not just beer lovers who are missing out.
As I tap away at the laptop we are starting a new national lockdown and pubs across our county are closed. When will they reopen? Hard to say really but chatting to pub owners not many hold out much hope of opening up before the end of March.
On the plus side they remain a resilient old lot and we can look forward to doors opening and a warm welcome at the bar in 2021.
However, it strikes me that its not just beer lovers who are missing out, so I want to touch on how important Norfolk’s pubs are to charities and communities.
To us at Team Moon Gazer the loss to charities is particularly poignant in January as for the last few years we have joined with pubs across Norfolk in producing our Tobi’s Tipple ale for local testicular cancer charity – It’s On The Ball.
Vince and his team at the charity had originally struggled to raise awareness as blokes and balls aren’t great coffee table subjects, and chaps themselves are unusually shy when it comes to health matters below the belt.
As such, so many young men needlessly die from this cancer, which is largely avoidable, since 98% of the cancer can be cured if caught in time. However, if not picked up soon enough a delay of just a couple of weeks all too often results in death. Oh, and just to finish cheering you up there’s no point thinking this is an old man’s disease – testicular cancer is one of the biggest killers of young men under the age of 30 in the UK.
The Moon Gazer beer – and the fantastic support of the pubs has undoubtedly saved lives, the charity has seen more and more people come forward and through the efforts of the pubs, often with the simple act of displaying a poster or a leaflet the stigma of this disease is slowly being broken down.
Saving lives is a big claim, but it is so simple – we just got blokes talking about the subject over a beer. One chap tells another, who tells another and before you know it blokes realise its OK to check your balls and ask your mate if they have checked theirs.
We have some fun along the way as well, and for myself I committed to pushing a 55Kg barrel of the charity ale 147 miles form the brewery to the cancer team at St Barts Hospital in London. Sadly, Covid 19 has postponed my #beerpush but the aim is for me to reschedule in 2021. (So, I’d better recommence training!).
However, Team Moon Gazer are not alone, so many pubs support their own favoured charities each and every day, running events, collecting change or a variety of things. All of this activity engages the public with the charities, many of whom are small and struggle to get their voices heard, and pubs provide a vital mouth piece and stepping stone for them.
Fifty quid here, £100 quid there – but nationally it is estimated that pubs raise over £120million a year. That’s a very big hole to fill this year.
Money aside it’s the sense of giving, the fun that pubs bring to it and the bringing together of people under a common cause that we all miss too.
So, can we urge all of you who are reading to think about your favourite Norfolk charity and raise a glass to them. Even better, think about the few quid you would have spent in the pub this month and if you can spare some of it drop it along to your charity. Now, more than ever before they will appreciate it. ( If you don’t have a particular local charity Team Moon gazer can recommend Vince and the team at It’s the Ball!).
In summary let’s not forget what very special places and community hubs that pubs are, and what amazing work the army of local charities and volunteers do across our fine county of Norfolk. It’s all about how we connect, how we share and how we care.
OK, I promise that my next column will be about beer – but for me this was an important message to spread – so cheers from Team Moon Gazer!
PS folks…try some further reading:
To find out more about testicular cancer and the work of Its On The Ball please visit: https://itsontheball.org/
To discover the madness of my #beerpush to London you can read more here