Brewery cheers on Josie's cause

An award-winning brewery is helping to toast the memory of an inspirational youngster.

Cliff Grove with Jim Clancy, Martin Hammill and John Boyce

An award-winning brewery is helping to toast the memory of an inspirational youngster.

Real ale specialists Wylam Brewery have decided to create a unique beer to honour the memory of brave teenager Josie Grove, who died following a two-year battle with leukaemia in February.

The 16-year-old, who touched the heart of the nation when she made the courageous decision to spend her final months with her family at home rather than undergo further treatment, raised tens of thousands of pounds for other young people suffering from the disease and encouraged scores to sign up to the bone marrow register.

And she left a lasting legacy by creating a Dragonfly pendant which her parents Cliff and Jacqui, both jewellery designers of Princes Street in Corbridge, Northumberland, are selling on-line.

Now Wylam Brewery has created its own Josie's Dragonfly in a bid to do its bit for the fundraising effort and raise the profile of the campaign.

Yesterday, Josie's father Cliff visited the brewery at Houghton Farm at South Houghton, near Heddon-on-the-Wall in Northumberland, to make the final choice. And now he is has made his pick, the 4% ABV bitter will be produced in time for the Tynedale Beer Festival.

Head brewer Martin Hammill said: "Although we never met Josie we decided we wanted to help. We were already involved with the Tynedale beer festival and we decided this would be the perfect opportunity.

"We got together with Cliff to choose a beer he thought would be best and one he thought would reflect Josie's character, and now we've created a one-off unique beer for the festival in memory of Josie and to promote the cause."

The beer, a "lightly-coloured, vibrant, highly-hopped" number will only be produced for the festival in Corbridge, from June 14 to 16, but Martin and Cliff hope visitors will snap it up.

The festival, a joint venture between Tynedale Lions Club and Tynedale Rugby Club, is an annual event which raises money for good causes.

Cliff said: "This is a great chance to raise interest in the Dragonfly. We've already sold more than 2,000 and raised more than £11,000, which is just superb. We just want to keep it going, and this will help to spread the word."


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