An astonishing £27,500 was raised for local causes at last weekend’s Midsummer Beer Happening in Stonehaven.
Thanks to the record-breaking 5,300 visitors to the three-day festival, held in the town’s Baird Park, the Stonehaven fundraising group for Guide Dogs for the Blind, the Stonehaven Sea Cadets and Stonehaven Tennis Club will each receive £8,000.
In addition, Pillar Kincardine, a charity which helps promote mental health, will receive £2,000 and Stonehaven and District Lions Club and Mackie Academy FP Rugby Club will receive £750 each.
Robert Lindsay, organiser of the Happening, said: “We are delighted to be able to give each of these groups a boost for the fantastic work they do in our community.That we are able to help them is all down to the people who supported the Midsummer Beer Happening, from those who came along to the army of volunteers who helped make it happen to our generous sponsors.
“We are delighted that 5,300 people flooded into our purpose-built marquee over the three days. That is a record-breaking number of visitors for the Happening, which has now been running for three years. We were blessed with beautiful summer weather - which probably helped our visitors drink the event dry by Saturday evening.
“It was great to watch so many people having such a good time, enjoying fantastic beers, eating great food and being entertained by superb music in what was essentially a three-day party. It was a fantastic weekend that I’m sure will have left many people with great memories.”
Andrea Williams, community fundraising development officer for Guide Dogs said the charity was thrilled to be part of the Happening: “It costs just under £55,000 to train and support a guide dog partnership and every pound we raise at the event will make a difference to people who are living with sight loss.”
As part of its contribution, the Happening is able to name a Guide Dog puppy. Organisers asked visitors to choose between three names and Summer emerged as the winner.
Ron Young, chairman of the Stonehaven Tennis Club said it was an amazing experience to be involved in the event.
He said: “The club will benefit enormously from the generosity of the Midsummer Beer Happening. Projects that were put on hold can now be funded. These developments will benefit the people of Stonehaven, surrounding areas and visitors alike.”
Stonehaven Sea Cadets will put their £8,000 towards the creating of a new headquarters at Stonehaven Harbour, which is set to enter its second phase.
Drew Lawson, sailing principal for the cadets, said: “This money will make a huge difference to our project. We cannot thank enough all the people who came along to the Beer Happening for their support. It was just great to see.”
Robert said the Happening was delighted to have raised enough money to be able to help Pillar Kincardine. It is a small charity based in Stonehaven which supports people looking to achieve positive mental health or are coping with serious emotional or mental health difficulties.
Due to changes in mental health provision in Aberdeenshire, Pillar is under threat of closure and is seeking grant monies to ensure its survival.
Robert said: “Pillar does so much to help so many people with issues that any one of us could face at any time. I hope the Happening’s help will allow them to keep doing that great work.”
He also praised the Lions and the Mackie FP Rugby club for rallying its members to volunteer at the festival. “Our donation to them both is our way of saying thanks,” said Robert.
The Happening was about more than just beer, food and music – it also had a hugely successful cycling sportive attached, which attracted more than 600 riders. It offered three routes, the Undo at 52 miles, the Redo at 70 miles and the Dinnaedo at 100 miles – all of them with some challenging hill climbs thrown in, including the Cairn o Mount.
Robert said: “We were staggered by the flood of entries, especially to the Dinnaedo which has to be one of the toughest cycling routes offered in the UK. It’s unique for a beer festival to have a cycling event attached and the Happening’s sportive has taken on cult status in the cycling community.
“We have had great feedback from our visitors who said they loved the vibrant but always friendly atmosphere of the Happening.
“I think it’s fair to say that the festival is now seen as one of the best beer festivals in the country.”
“Everyone involved is so proud that it is viewed as an outstanding event in the North-east’s calendar attracting people from across the country – and further afield – to the event every year.”