As we mentioned in our last issue, there were several changes to the committee following the recent AGM, with a existing members changing roles and a few new faces entering the fray. Together, we are hoping to continue working hard for the real ale drinkers of Sheffield and the surrounding areas. We thought we would introduce ourselves, so here goes…
Chair, Mick Saxton: Beer has been an important part of my life for over forty years and, although I brew beer at home, I love the life and atmosphere of a good British pub. In many respects I am a traditionalist, and I have strong views on the directions in which the British beer brewing and drinking scenes are being pulled. I also believe in encouraging as many CAMRA members as possible to get involved in branch activities and decision-making, so that we can say with confidence that we are a representative campaigning body. Therefore, I feel very privileged to have the chair of CAMRA’s Sheffield & District branch at this interesting time, to help promote and support cask conditioned beers, real ciders and perries, and British pubs.
Vice Chair and Beer Festival Organiser, Louise Singleton: I became involved with Sheffield CAMRA when I volunteered to help at the 2011 AGM. Following that I volunteered at the festival at Ponds Forge, and was soon given the task of Staffing Officer. I became Chair of the Festival Organising Committee for the 41st festival, and again this year. I am not from a Beer Industry background as I work in Pensions Administration, and although working 60+ hours on the festival week I really enjoy it, though at times through the tiredness it doesn’t seem that way! It is a long 11 months organising the festival with many obstacles to overcome, but I do enjoy working with the other volunteers and am very proud of what we achieve together.
Secretary, Press Officer and Deputy Festival Organiser, Paul Crofts: I joined the committee 2 years ago, after many years of appreciating CAMRA’s work in promoting good beer and pubs. I work in the furniture industry for a local manufacturer and am a big music fan, particularly live music. As a born and bred Sheffielder, I’m keen to help promote Sheffield’s breweries and pubs and I believe that is something the committee will build on in the coming year. I am involved with the Steel City Beer & Cider Festival, which is something I really enjoy and have taken on the role of Deputy Organiser for this year. (Spare time is so last year!) If you see me out and about, feel free to stop me for a chat and we can lower a couple for the tonsils (one of my favourite phrases, courtesy of P. G. Wodehouse).
Treasurer, Andy Cullen: Andy has been actively involved in CAMRA for over 15 years after being recruited to sit on a national younger members task group, since holding roles locally including secretary, membership secretary and Chairman; also editing Beer Matters magazine for many years up until last month – this is the first issue with new editors Dom and Poppy! Andy has also been staffing officer at the Steel City Beer & Cider Festival for almost every one held since becoming active in the branch, except from 2012 to 2015 when responsible for the beer order!
Pub Heritage Officer, Dave Pickersgill: CAMRA member since the late 1970’s: SCBF43 will be the 36th. Sheffield CAMRA festival at which he’s worked. Leads on Pub Heritage and associated issues within the branch. His e-book on Worksop and Retford Brewery has now sold over 100 copies!
Social Secretary, Patrick Johnson: I moved to Sheffield from Newcastle 5.5 years ago and straight into the Kelham Island area to partake of its many glorious pubs and myriad pale ales. While I’ve been a member for almost 11 years, I was ‘activated’ only last year and am continuing in the same committee position again this year; it must have been good!
Beer Matters Editor, Dominic Nelson: I first came to Sheffield as a student seven years ago, and the beer is one of the things I really like about this city. I’ve been drinking real ale and going to beer festivals for a few years now although I only joined CAMRA in December last year. I enjoy writing, so this is a perfect role for me really! I’m looking forward to getting the news out there about the great breweries and beers that Sheffield has to offer. I’ll be working closely with our Social Media Coordinator, Poppy, to try and reach as many people as possible. If there’s anything you would like to see in the magazine, you could just send me an email, but why not try and find me in the pub?
Social Media Coordinator, Poppy Hayhurst: I didn’t really think I was into real ale, but I downloaded a beer scoring app a couple of years ago and have checked in over 500 different beers since then (not all full pints, don’t worry!) so I guess I’m a convert. I spent a year exploring all the microbreweries and beer festivals in South London, and having moved to Sheffield earlier this year joined CAMRA as a way of meeting people with similar beery interests. My background is in marketing so I’m looking forward to growing Sheffield & District CAMRA’s social media presence and I’m sure you’ll be hearing a lot more from me in the run-up to the Steel City Beer & Cider festival.
Committee Member, Glyn Mansell: After a number of years as a draught Guinness drinker (I still enjoy one occasionally) Graham my brother cajoled me to start drinking real ale. I remember many years ago going with friends to a new pub called the Fat Cat (originally called The Alma?), apparently a “Real Ale Pub”. That was the start of my idea of a really good pub, now supported with many others in Sheffield and elsewhere. Graham and I are to be found most Thursday evenings exploring other pubs in Sheffield.
I joined CAMRA a few years ago having an interest in real ale issues and started attending Sheffield and District Branch Meetings just over a year ago. So far I’ve really enjoyed the Peak District Pub Trips and a RambAle walk. Currently my position is a Committee Member and at branch/committee meetings I raise issues and ask questions. My interest is supporting all Sheffield real ale pubs and how to encourage more CAMRA members to vote for their local pub. My other interests are walking in the countryside (staggering if on a pub crawl), travelling, cycling, conservation work and having fun with our grandchildren.
Real Cider Champion, Sarah Mills: Hi, my name is Sarah Mills. I have been a member of CAMRA for about seven years. I was encouraged to join because I wanted to get involved with the beer festival. I joined at the time when cider was a small sideline and since I have been joint cider bar manager I have seen it go from strength to strength. I enjoy talking about the ciders we sell and like to encourage customers to try the new things we have on offer.
Also on the committee: Pub of the Year and Good Beer Guide Coordinator, Alan Gibbons; Pubs Campaign Coordinator, Mark Boardley.