Back in July I blogged about the end of an era in Gloucester CAMRA when the chairman, Alan Stephens, stood down after being in the role for almost 22 years.
The inaugural meeting of the Gloucester sub-branch of CAMRA took place in the Old Crown in Westgate Street on 15 October 1991. Out of 49 CAMRA members in the GL1-4 area, nine attended.
In those days almost all pubs were tied to the same old ‘Big Six’ breweries, dominated around this area by Whitbread. Since then much has changed. There are now a huge number of independent breweries across the county, including our very own Gloucester Brewery, and there is more choice than ever in Gloucester’s pubs. Membership in the Gloucester sub-branch area now numbers more than 350.
But the battle is not won. Pubs continue to close at an alarming rate and good beer is under constant threat. So Gloucester CAMRA will fight on. After a break over the summer, on Wednesday the sub-branch held a special meeting to decide its future and elect a new Chair and committee.
At an extremely well attended meeting at the Fountain in Westgate Street, Margaret Wilkins was unanimously voted in as Chairwoman – a role that she accepted with some reluctance. Margaret has done a sterling job as ‘caretaker’ chair over the summer, but was quite clear it was only going to be a temporary role. She should have known better!
So things are going to change in Gloucester CAMRA. No-one is willing or able to devote as much time and effort as Alan did in running the show almost single-handedly; it is now going to have to be much more of a group effort. The new Chair and committee (which now includes yours truly!) will be looking for support and involvement from members.
Time will tell over the coming months how we get on, and it won’t be long before we have to turn our attention once again to running the Gloucester CAMRA Beer Festival: a baptism of fire!
So, if you are a CAMRA member, please come along to the meetings – details can be found on page 35 of the Gloucestershire CAMRA newsletter, The Tippler, which you can find in all good pubs in the county or on line.
And if you are not a CAMRA member but value good pubs and good beer then what are you waiting for: sign up!