South Norfolk pub staff ensure beer doesn’t go to waste - in aid of NHS staff

Directors of the Bird in Hand, in Wreningham, Alex and Lizzie Brake with the funds raised for NHS st

Directors of the Bird in Hand, in Wreningham, Alex and Lizzie Brake with the funds raised for NHS staff by selling leftover beer they were unable to sell due to pubs being forced to shut Picture: Bird in Hand - Credit: Bird in Hand

You can never let good beer go to waste, an old adage brought to life by staff of a south Norfolk pub in support of NHS workers this week.

Following Friday’s decision by the government that pubs and restaurants needed to close as part of measures to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus, many business owners had a stressful weekend to deal with.

Alex Brake, director of the Bird in Hand pub and restaurant in Wreningham, near Wymondham, made sure that the business’s already tapped real ale supply would not be going to waste by selling it to customers in exchange for a donation for the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital.

So on Monday morning there were locals waiting to fill up empty bottles, jars and various other containers, snapping up all the beer in around 40 minutes, to help take a fund for the N&N to £540 - which is being converted into 200 boxes of fresh fruit and veg for front-line NHS staff by Norwich food wholesalers Easters.

“We had 210 pints of fresh beer so instead of binning it we gave all of our Facebook followers an opportunity to come and take it away for free, for a donation for the Norfolk & Norwich front-line staff,” Mr Brake explained.

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“We were rammed, absolutely rammed, and everyone was really good with staying in their cars as we had asked in the Facebook post, passing the bottles through the windows and stuff, and we raised £380, so well worth doing.

“Our locals, just before we called last orders, had a whip round and had raised £160 towards the fund as well. So some really good community spirit going on at the moment, everyone sticking together and making the best of a bad situation and supporting one another, which is lovely to see.”

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With anti-bacterial wipes used to maintain hygiene and acceptable social distancing enforced, staff ensured they made the most of as much of the beer as possible, before getting back to business.

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With the immediate time used for a deep clean of facilities, work also pressed on with launching the restaurant - as with so many food outlets currently - as a takeaway and delivery service, to be launched in the next few days.

Mr Brake explained: “Eastern Cash Registers have been very supportive in giving us free software, so our tills are changing to takeaway delivery tills, we’ll have an app and people can place the order for collection or delivery.

“We have a Hermes delivery driver locally, a guy called John, who’s not in work at the moment who has offered to deliver for us free of charge - it’s just the community spirit, the support is absolutely awesome.

“So we’ll be delivering, we’ll have a couple of drivers and we’ll do a three-mile radius around the Bird in Hand and collections will be on the terrace, not inside the business, and there will be a bell people can ring and there will be a specific collection area.

“This will give us an opportunity as well to deliver food to the vulnerable, with toilet rolls and such like, that we’ve got in stock here at the moment. We’ve got fresh soup and bread rolls so we can give that away as well to the elderly and vulnerable in the village who are short of food.”

Are you doing something to help others, or do you know someone who is? Email with details, as part of our Here to Help campaign in partnership with Norfolk County Council.

- Click here to join our “Norfolk and Waveney Here to Help” Facebook page

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