Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, has held talks with Saddleworth Beerwalk organisers to discuss the walk’s future. The move comes in the wake of Saddleworth Round Table calling off their charity event after warnings of cost implications surrounding policing and cleaning up.
Dave MacDougall, Table’s Beerwalk chairman, said, “The talks with our MP were really positive. The Beerwalk committee are in the process of producing a ‘business plan’ to present to the safety advisory committee and the police seeking help and advice on keeping the walk alive. We have already received offers of help from the local and wider community and would ask anyone who believes they can give us tangible support to talk to us.”
He stressed, “We do no want any unofficial beer walks taking place. This would be totally out of order and not at all in line with Round Table’s ethos over fund raising.”
Debbie Abrahams said, “Dave and the Round Table team are pulling out all the stops to come up with viable alternatives to help save a really important community event which is, essentially, designed to raise money for charity. Clearly the main sticking points at the moment are the cost of policing, due to the influx of unruly participants who spoil the atmosphere, but all parties are willing to keep talking to see if it’s possible to create an event which preserves the great charity work of the Round Table.”
This year’s walk was marred by a police officer being injured, other criminal activity, and up to 4,000 hangers on, some who used the event to fund personal drinking sprees. However, the walk raised £40,000 for local charities and, it is estimated that over the last five years alone, more than £200,000 has been distributed to charities and other needy causes.