Fifty years of campaigning for local pubs and breweries has been marked by the Aylesbury Vale and Wycombe branch of CAMRA.
The first meeting of CAMRA in Buckinghamshire was held on 3rd December 1973 at the Rose and Crown in Saunderton. Sadly, the pub is now one of the growing number of “lost pubs” in the branch, having been empty for several years.
Nevertheless, the local CAMRA branch was delighted to have been able to invite Robert Watson, the pub landlord who hosted that first meeting, to the fiftieth anniversary celebration.
Robert, who was also a founding committee member of the branch, was presented with a certificate to commemorate the first meeting by David Roe, the longest-serving chairman of the Aylesbury Vale and Wycombe branch over the past fifty years.
Held at the fifteenth century King’s Head in Aylesbury, the presentation was toasted by many local CAMRA active members both past and present. These included past branch chairmen covering almost the past forty years: “Noj” Williamson, Dave Roe, Carl Griffin and Simon Isted. Alexander Wright sent his apologies.
No cakes were to be seen but reminiscences were exchanged over a barrel of Beechwood Bitter. Members brought along memorabilia from the past half century, which included minutes from the first meeting, photos, branch newsletters and editions of local Buckinghamshire pub guides from over the years.
Tom Jenkinson from Chiltern Brewery also addressed the gathering, representing Buckinghamshire’s oldest existing brewery, a mere forty-three years old. Greg Smith, MP for Buckingham. also spoke at the celebration. Greg’s support for the beer and pub industry led Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer refer to him as “a defender of the great British pint” in the recent Autumn Statement. Tom and Greg paid tribute to CAMRA’s successful achievements in preserving real ale as a unique British beer style and to the vital contribution of CAMRA’s volunteers over the past fifty years in supporting local breweries and preserving the great British pub.
Mike Clarke, current chair of the local branch, raised a pint to all the excellent breweries and pubs in the local area and looked forward to another fifty years of real ale drinking in Buckinghamshire.
The event generated press coverage in the Bucks Herald and What's Brewing.
Bucks CAMRA 50th Anniversary Bucks Herald
Bucks CAMRA 50th Anniversary What's Brewing