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An Ouse Booze coup

The Bar Man, by Jeff Hoyle, Friday October 11, 2019

It is not that long ago that the existence of the Ouse Amateur Sailing Club in Lynn was in doubt.

Lots of hard work saw it saved and now independent of the sailors, it is the Ferry Lane Social Club.

One thing that hasn’t change is the commitment to cask beer and they have consistently served a good pint.

The Bar Man, by Jeff Hoyle, Friday October 11, 2019
The Bar Man, by Jeff Hoyle, Friday October 11, 2019

Recently their selection has become more varied and interesting and a cask ale weekend saw keen prices for excellent ale, with the promise of an expanded choice in the future.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t really able to do it justice as we had volunteered to be a host for the King's Lynn Poetry Festival.

Our reward for putting up Sue was a season ticket to the events and it opened my eyes to a wonderful weekend which featured poets with a national, even international standing.

We did managed a brief visit to the club for lunch and a pint of super Purity Gold, but I decided that you could not approach a poetry reading with the same attitude as a football match, swilling several pints before the action, especially with the game pie and champagne on offer at the after show party.

It is a Festival that deserves a higher profile and it was good to see the Stuart House Hotel offering support with discounts for those who stayed for the weekend.

Maybe we need a fringe event with ‘Pints and Poems in the Pub’ in future years to encourage more people to become involved.

I did get along to Ferry Lane before the poetry action kicked off, dropping into their Macmillan Coffee Morning.

It was great to see the place packed with the masses enjoying a fine array of cakes while listening to Eddie crooning away in the corner.

For me, this was a showcase of exactly what pubs and clubs should offer to the local community, people meeting up, having a chat and a bit of entertainment while raising money for a good cause, and it was nice to see the list of future events which will hopefully be equally well attended.

It did set me thinking about how changes in society are affecting charities. I was contacted by a journalist recently who was looking to do an article on pub closures in Lynn, and pretty quickly came up with around 30 that have gone in the last 25 years.

I know that not all pubs stage events as well organised and expert as the team behind the Macmillan morning, but a glance through almost any edition of the Lynn News will show some kind of fundraising initiative in a pub.

Even those that don’t organise darts marathons, sponsored head shaves, motorbike shows and the like usually have a collecting box or two on the bar.

Increasingly people pay for their drinks with a card rather than cash, so do not have the few coppers change to add to the giant whisky bottle on the bar.

And when people pop into the supermarket for their cans of beer or bottles of wine to drink at home, do they make the same donations?

I know that some of the stores in town did make a big effort for the Macmillan event, and pointy hats-off to the staff in Marks & Spencer’s who took the risk as dressing up as witches so close to Tuesday Market Place and its tradition of burning those so accused, but I am not sure that they can fully fill the gap.

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