Hull’s leading beer festival has attracted a record attendance to Hull’s historic Holy Trinity Church.
And the success of the Hull Real Ale and Cider Festival has given a further boost to plans to transform England’s largest parish church.
More than 4,000 people enjoyed the festival – up by 1,000 on last year – with drinkers queuing to enter the church throughout the three-day event. The festival raised £5,000 to be split between church funds and the £4.5m regeneration project.
Holy Trinity Pioneer Minister the Reverend Matt Woodcock said there was a wonderful atmosphere throughout the event, with real ale fans enjoying a sociable drink within magnificent surroundings.
Rev Woodcock said: “This was the fourth time Holy Trinity has hosted the festival and it was undoubtedly the biggest and best yet.
“There was a fantastic, friendly atmosphere, with drinkers enjoying great beer and company surrounded by 700 years of history and heritage.
“People were queuing to come in from the start on all three days and we were up to our legally permitted capacity for most of the time. That meant people had to queue to get in, but we want to thank everyone for being so patient and understanding.
“We are now planning to review our licensing options to enable even more people to enjoy future festivals and experience this amazing place.”
Many visitors to the church took time to find out more about the church’s ambitious development project, which will enable Holy Trinity to replace outdated and inadequate facilities; enhance its extraordinary heritage; become much more accessible to the community; and host an even wider range of cultural and social events.
Dozens of drinkers also joined in the “Raise a Glass” social media campaign promoting the development project, by posting pictures of them toasting the plans for Holy Trinity. Many more signed a Pledge of Support for the plans and donated beer tokens to the regeneration fund.
Rev Woodcock added: “We’re delighted and really encouraged by the overwhelming support we received for our vision for Holy Trinity’s future. People could really see how our plans will enable us to open up our doors to the community for a huge range of events and bring so many more people into the church.”
The festival is run by the Hull and East Yorkshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). CAMRA branch Chairman and festival organiser Stewart Campbell said: “This year’s festival was the best yet. Holy Trinity is a wonderful building and is simply a perfect venue for the festival.”
The planned changes at Holy Trinity will open up new income streams to secure a long-term sustainable future for Holy Trinity as a vibrant and welcoming place of worship and community use.
They include the creation of an open, flexible space within the church for Christian worship, as well as banquets, concerts and cultural events, and the addition of a high-quality café. The churchyard and Trinity Square will also become a seamless, piazza-style public space as the centrepiece of regeneration of Hull’s Old Town.