As the local MP, I get to meet a whole range of individuals, groups and businesses. It’s particularly rewarding when I manage to introduce them to each other, so they can combine their skills to do great work for our town.
This happened last week when I brought together a fantastic local business with an important local veterans’ group – and all in the name of beer!
The Two Roses Brewery in Darton is a small outfit run by James Taylor, who has a great passion for beer. He produces a range of ales – from the Black Beauty stout to the Galaxy pale ale – many of which can be bought in local pubs and shops.
So I was delighted when he agreed to my suggestion to produce a special beer to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War One – with 5 pence from every pint sold going to the Barnsley branch of the Royal British Legion.
Aubrey Wells and his colleagues in the Legion do such important work, supporting veterans and their families. And much of this work goes on behind the scenes in a quiet, unassuming manner. So you may not be aware of just what a lifeline they can be, providing practical and useful information for those who are adjusting to life after serving.
The Barnsley Pals Ale is just one of the many local initiatives taking place to mark this important centenary milestone in our history. I’ve been privileged to hear of many others, thanks to my role as the Opposition Lead for the WWI commemorations.
Of course the Barnsley Pals were just one group of people from our town who made their contribution to WWI. I am working with other MPs, as well as trade unions, to find a way to have a memorial of some kind for all those who contributed towards the war effort – including those who worked in the mines and all the many workers who kept the home front going.
The First World War affected so many things in our country – from the changing role of women in the workplace and of Britain in the world, to the very direct and personal impact on individual families. It’s only right that we pause to reflect on its significance – but equally, it’s no bad thing to raise a glass in memory of those who served then, whilst supporting those who serve us today.
This article was first published in the Barnsley Independent on 14th October 2014.
The Barnsley Pals Ale (BPA) is a 4.1% copper coloured beer made with English hops. It is available to order from the Two Roses Brewery and is on sale in the Talbot Inn in Mapplewell who are also offering a free pint to serving and retired members of the armed forces.