‘Year of fortune’ promised for local charities

THE COLLATERAL damage caused by scrapping the legendary Saddleworth Beer Walk was revealed by the new chairman of a charity fundraising club.

Ian Eardley, Saddleworth Round Table's new chair with Mike Procter, outgoing chair
Ian Eardley, Saddleworth Round Table’s new chair with Mike Procter, outgoing chair

But Ian Eardley promised members of Saddleworth Round Table ‘a year of good fortune’ with the advent of exciting new initiatives.

The group’s annual meeting was told the last beer walk two years ago raised a staggering £47, 269 for deserving charities.

Over 37 years of colourful events, Round Table provided hundreds of thousands of pounds to charities, with walkers raising additional funds for their own dedicated causes.

But the walk was cancelled in its 38th year after being blighted by violence, drunkenness and problems with renegade walkers duping unsuspecting locals to part with money on the 11.2 mile route across Saddleworth villages.

However, Mr Eardley, speaking at the club’s headquarters at the White Hart at Lydgate, said several new, high-profile events are under ‘active discussion’ for the coming year.

He said: “Round Table is all about bringing benefits to the community – and bringing the community together.

“I am determined to develop community spirit. Saddleworth Round Table has a respected heritage in the community and we have a terrific team to build on that and take our initiatives forward.”

Mr Eardley, a training manager from Springhead, pointed to the success of the club’s Winter Wonderland project, their own Beer Festival at Uppermill Civic Hall and the old folks Christmas party.

“We have had some major successes and, with other exciting initiatives being planned, these will help forge even stronger links with the community,” he declared.

Outgoing chairman, Mike Procter, pictured with Mr Eardley, said: “The loss of the beer walk left a big hole in our funds.

“But over the last year, we have raised out profile considerably gaining on pride and confidence with the people of Saddleworth and Oldham.

“We are all about revitalising Round Table,” he added.

Other officers appointed are: Matthew Sykes, deputy chairman and treasurer; Richard Taylor, secretary; Andy Bagley, honorary president.

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