Norwich City of Ale event to kick-start summer of celebrations

Organisers of the second City of Ale event in Norwich hope it will kick-start a summer of celebrat-ions, with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Euro championships and the Olympics to follow.

Publicans and brewers met yesterday at the Bell in the city centre to iron out the final preparations for the 10-day celebration of pubs, beer, breweries and real ale, which runs from May 31 to June 10.

The meeting was told 45 pubs – 14 more than last year – and 35 breweries have signed up. BBC East's David Whiteley has also confirmed that he will chair the political debate, at St Gregory's Hall on Friday, June 1, which will focus on pubs and brewing and will be free to attend.

The debate will feature Toby Perkins, Labour MP for Chesterfield, Mike Benner, the chief executive of Camra, who will also officially open the City of Ale event, Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, and Simon Wright, MP for Norwich South.

Phil Cutter, landlord at the Murderers and co-chairman, said: 'We are really excited about the event. I'm really excited about the pub quiz and the auction we're having. The heritage aspect of the event will also be fantastic with the chance to learn more about the pubs around the city that we have lost. Pubs are great places to have a celebration and we hope the City of Ale event will kick-start the summer of celebrations, with the Queen's Jubilee, the Olympics and the Euro championships.'

Co-chairman Dawn Leeder added: 'We're delighted Mike Benner has agreed to come and officially open the festival on May 31. His presence is further evidence of Norwich's claim to be the undisputed UK City of Ale.'

The next meeting of City of Ale is at 10am on Thursday, May 3 at the Bridge House, 69-71 Riverside Road, Norwich.

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The festival fits in with the Evening News's Love Your Local campaign which aims to get people to support their local pubs. For more stories visit loveyourlocal.

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