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27th March 2023

Guild Member Leigh Norwood thanked for his charity work by Prime Minister at Downing Street

On Wednesday 22nd March, guild member Leigh Norwood attended a reception for Community Champions hosted by the Prime Minister at No. 10 Downing Street.

The attached photo shows Leigh with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Alex Chalk, Cheltenham MP, and Minister for Defence Procurement.

Alex Chalk commented:

“I was delighted to invite Cheltenham’s own Leigh Norwood to 10 Downing Street to receive the personal thanks of the Prime Minister for his work for the Samaritans. For nearly 45 years (he started in his teens!) Leigh and the local Cheltenham group Friends of Cheltenham Samaritans, have supported this excellent cause, raising over £350,000. And that’s often been with events that involve his second passion – beer!”

Since 2006 the primary fundraising events organised by Leigh and the group have been Beer Festivals. These initially concentrated on cask ale but in recent years moved over to focus on craft keg beers. Current iterations of the craft beer festivals are held  twice yearly in the modernised St Philips & St James Church, known locally as ‘Pip & Jims’.

During the Covid-19 pandemic the group even organised two ‘virtual’ beer festivals, the first of which featured video tastings by six of our most celebrated beer writers: Roger Protz, Pete Brown, Jeff Evans, Melissa Cole, Adrian Tierney-Jones and Tim Hampson.

Leigh commented:

“It was an honour and a privilege to be invited to the reception at Number 10 in recognition of the work of our fundraising group. It was a real pleasure to meet the Prime Minister, and to be given the chance to enter the hallowed space of one of the most iconic buildings in Western democracy. I was somewhat humbled to be in the presence of the many others who have done so much for their communities, but I thoroughly enjoyed engaging in some fascinating conversations.

Of course, recognition is also due to the many other incredible members of the Friends of Cheltenham Samaritans. Since our group was formed in 1979, we have had nearly eighty committee members, raised over £350,000 and provided vital publicity to the Samaritans by organising over more than 300 very diverse events. These efforts have helped to ensure that the vital service of the local Samaritans continues to be provided to the people of Cheltenham and the surrounding area.”

Leigh Norwood is co-owner, with his daughter Rosie, of multi award-winning Cheltenham bottle shop and bar Favourite Beers. He was also the instigator the annual Cheltenham Beer Weeks and is a regular judge at the International Beer Challenge.

To contact Leigh, please visit his Guild directory listing.