Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Ale & Hearty

“Wine is but single broth, ale is meat, drink, and cloth.” - 16th century English proverb.

The Ale & Hearty project, from arts and heritage organisation Strike a Light, aims to encourage participants and visitors to share memories of ale, local brewing, and agricultural and brewery working life in Lewes. It involves collecting oral histories and holding reminiscence workshops, arranging heritage open days with walking tours, creating an exhibition and producing a booklet. A project launch for ninety people was held at the Linklater Pavilion, Lewes on Friday 8th March to promote a year of exciting free events and activities celebrating the heritage of the brewing and related agricultural industries in Lewes.

The busy evening played host to talks from Miles Jenner, of Harveys Brewery, and Councillor Ruth O’Keeffe, Mayor Elect of Lewes. There were Sussex and ale-themed folk songs from the group Emily and the Hares; an exhibition and slide show; ale to drink gifted from Harveys with local cheeses from the High Weald Dairy; the unveiling of a new logo; and a raffle which raised £185 towards a companion education pack to go out free to Lewes primary schools. Photos show (right) Steering Group Members, your Blogger The Quaffer and Miles Jenner. And (below) Project Coordinator Nicola Benge with Cllr Nicholson and his wife (middle pair) and the Mayor Elect.

The event celebrated memories and stories from a time when Lewes laid claim to nine local breweries, unearthing the hidden history of one of the main industries of the town over the last 300 years. Nicola Benge, Ale & Hearty Project Coordinator, said “We really enjoyed meeting new project participants, visitors, volunteers, all interested in Ale & Hearty activities. We had a great deal of enthusiasm for the event, and with the help of generous local Lewes businesses, raised money towards supporting local educational projects too!”

Strike a Light is a non profit arts and heritage organisation which celebrates and profiles the importance of local community and history, utilising people’s life stories and memories to transform public and private spaces. It aims to manage projects which improve cultural heritage, and promote local arts and social development. Ale & Hearty is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), using money raised through the National Lottery. Partners for the project include East Sussex Libraries and Information Service, Harveys Brewery, Lewes History Group, Friends of Lewes, Action in Rural Sussex, and Lewes District Seniors Forum.

For more information on the project, please visit the website: http://strikealight.org/projects/ale-and-hearty/ or contact Nicola Benge, tel. 07727 006538; email: aleandheartylewes@gmail.com  

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