Wedmore Real Ale Festival (WRAF) celebrated another record year of ale drinking and fundraising on Saturday night, with the organisers dishing out £19,000 in donations to local worthy causes.

Some 17 organisations received cheques at the annual Presentation Evening at The Swan in Wedmore, where successful donation candidates joined organisers and volunteers to mark another fantastic year for the festival, which took place in the village over the weekend of 20-23 September. A huge thank you to The Swan for their continued support, use of their Clubhouse, hospitality and great food.

This year’s fundraising was the most successful yet, surpassing 2018’s total of £18,150 and bringing the total amount of money raised for local causes over the festival’s 19-year history to a whopping £205,221.

The beneficiaries for 2019 include Children’s Hospice South West, Somewhere House Somerset, Wedmore Playing Fields and Cheddar Valley Food Bank.

‘We are delighted to have smashed last year’s total,’ said James Turbitt, WRAF committee member. ‘It was especially gratifying after our decision to move to a new site for this year’s festival, which we think worked really well: we’ve had some great feedback from the punters about the new set-up and this has been backed up by our record takings.’

James added: ‘Deciding on where and how much to donate is a difficult decision and one the committee takes very seriously, as there are so many worthy causes, but giving out the cheques also makes all the hard work in running the festival more than worthwhile.

‘This feat of fundraising would not be possible without our committed and enthusiastic team of volunteers who show up each year to help us keep the festival running smoothly: those 5,000 pints and 200 bottles of wine and prosecco don’t pour themselves!’

The complete list of 2019 beneficiaries:
• Children’s Hospice South West £2,250
• Wedmore First School PTA £2,750
• Wedmore Playing Fields Management Committee £2,000
• Somewhere House Somerset Ltd £2,000
• Hugh Sexey Church of England Middle School £1,900
• Wedmore & Axbridge Community Health Fund £1,500
• Blackford Village Hall £1,250
• Theale Village Hall £950
• Wedmore Borrow a Bike £900
• Isle of Wedmore Junior Football Club £700
• Wedmore Village Hall Management Committee £500
• Cheddar Valley Foodbank £500
• Wedmore Scout Group £480
• Wedmore in Bloom £450
• Wedmore Tuesday Club £440
• Wedmore Women’s Institute £330
• Wedmore Rainbows £100

Wedmore PTA ran the raffle at this year’s festival and were presented with a cheque of £650, a proportion of the takings, which is included in the money they received.