Henshaws Beer Festival in Knaresborough makes more than £26,000 for charity

Henshaws charity’s beer festival proved successful once again. Grace Hammond reports.
Cold Bath Brewing Co at Henshaws Beer Fest. Picture: Mike Whorley.Cold Bath Brewing Co at Henshaws Beer Fest. Picture: Mike Whorley.
Cold Bath Brewing Co at Henshaws Beer Fest. Picture: Mike Whorley.

Henshaws is a charity which is all about supporting disabled people to achieve their ambitions and go beyond expectations.

But for a weekend earlier this month, they were publicans too.

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After a big success in 2023, the Henshaws Beer Festival made its return to Knaresborough on May 4 and 5, raising £26,000 for the charity.

Henshaws supporters at this year's beer fest. Picture: Mike Whorley.Henshaws supporters at this year's beer fest. Picture: Mike Whorley.
Henshaws supporters at this year's beer fest. Picture: Mike Whorley.

Based in Manchester, the charity also has a big presence in Knaresborough and Harrogate, with a specialist college and arts and crafts centre offering important learning spaces for people with a range of disabilities.

Flora Simpson, senior fundraiser at Henshaws, says: “What an incredible event we were able to hold for the local community and beyond.

"It was so great to showcase everything that Henshaws has to offer as well as celebrating what a special place Knaresborough is and bringing the people of the town together to raise funds for a fantastic cause.

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"We are so grateful to all of the support we received from our sponsors, volunteers, all of the vendors and musicians who gave up their time to make the event a huge success and also the attendees who in buying tickets supported the charity and helped us to raise such an amazing amount, which will go towards all of the services we offer across the North of England.”

There were two family-friendly daytime events at the festival, followed by an adult-only evening session. It was attended by 726 people, who between them watched 27 musical performances – including the charity’s very own Henshaws Hotspots band – from local artists. There were 30 beers, gins, wines, and ciders, all crafted in Yorkshire by producers such as Cold Bath Brewing, Daleside, Harrogate Brewing, Rooster’s and Turning Point.

Gin from Slingsby, the popular Harrogate brand, as well as wine from Yorkshire Heart Vineyard was also on offer.

Finance firm Evelyn Partners sponsored this year’s event.

Viki Herrtage, associate director, said: “We are thrilled to support this fabulous local event and the wonderful work that Henshaws does for people living with sight loss and other disabilities.”

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Henshaws lays claim to being one of the oldest charities in the UK and, in 2022, celebrated its 185th anniversary.

The charity was originally established over the Pennines to help people with sight loss.

In 1810, Oldham businessman Thomas Henshaw left £20,000 in his will to establish an ‘Asylum for the Indigent Blind’ in Manchester. The site finally opened its doors in Old Trafford in 1837 and, by 1930, the school had 273 pupils, 194 workshop employees, 64 residents and 19 blind instructors.

The North Yorkshire team’s next event will be Bed Fest, coinciding with the Great Knaresborough Bed Race on Saturday, June 8.

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