The biggest ever charity challenge taken on by pubs in the UK, Britain’s Biggest Pub Tour had already raised £275,000 for Variety, the Children’s Charity, when it arrived at its final stop, The Slug and Lettuce at Tower Bridge on Friday 26 September 2014.
A spectacular evening of celebration welcomed the BBPT’s giant pledge passport, which has being signed by each pub manager as it toured the UK. Ready and waiting to receive the BBPT Passport on behalf of the charity was actor and TV presenter Warwick Davis (pictured above with the choir of St Saviour’s School from Poplar in East London).
The ambitious challenge, which is the brainchild of Stonegate Pub Company’s CEO, Toby Smith, kicked off at Yates’s in Hastings on 18 May 2014. Roads were closed and the town came out to celebrate as the open-top bus carrying the BBPT Passport headed towards the West Country.
At each stop along the way, the pubs and their customers were challenged to host a momentous fundraising event and devise a quirky and unique way to transport the Pledge Passport onto its next destination. From waterskiing in Blackpool to hare and tortoise racing in Lincoln, the BBPT Passport has literally been carried using hundreds of different methods.
Awaiting it on the steps of Tower Bridge was Jo Birchall, actress and Pop Idol finalist who performed BBPT’s charity single, ‘All About Love’ accompanied by the choir of St Saviour’s School from Poplar in East London, a beneficiary school of Variety, the Children’s Charity.
Amifst great fanfare, the BBPT Pledge Passport was then handed to Warwick Davis who handed it on to Stonegate’s Chairman Ian Payne and CEO, Toby Smith. A drumroll preceded – with suitable drama – the announcement of the final sum raised for the charity.
The Slug and Lettuce then hosted a celebratory party to mark the end of the tour. A 1920’s themed evening, complete with a performance from Jo Birchall, brought the biggest ever single fundraising event in aid of Variety, the Children’s Charity, to a close.
“When we first dreamt up the idea of Britain’s Biggest Pub Tour we couldn’t have envisaged the scale of the challenge or the unbelievable enthusiasm and generosity of the pubs, their customers and communities” said Toby Smith CEO of Stonegate Pub Company.
“Every step of the way, from Isle of Wight to Inverness, communities have demonstrated the British spirit of giving. We wanted to raise £100,000; we were blown away when that was achieved in just six weeks; and now we are hopeful we’ll reach a staggering £300,000. That means that through Variety, the Children’s Charity, we can purchase five specially adapted Variety Sunshine coaches for schools and communities for children with disabilities and well as support numerous individuals with equipment to make their lives better.”
As part of the fundraising, 50p from the sale of special Charity tipples, Strawberry Pimm’s or a pint of specially brewed real ale, The Crawler (Golden Blonde ale 4.1 ABV) has been donated to the charity. In addition, proceeds from the sale of BBPT’s official single Jo Birchall’s All About Love, will go to the charity. The single is available to download on iTunes here
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