Regional Roundup By Nick Boley
The end of June brings with it another NERDs (National Executive and Regional Directors) weekend. This year we met up in the town of Bury, Greater Manchester. Bury is famous for black pudding and for being the birthplace of Sir Robert Peel, the founder of the modern British Police Force. We didn’t manage to get any black pudding, and the nearest we got to Sir Robert Peel was the large Wetherspoon’s bearing his name. The meeting was held at the local Pub of the Year (POTY), the Hare & Hounds at Holcombe Brook, a short bus ride away. The pub was busy, with many diners, but we had a big room for our meeting. National Director Christine Cryne updated us on the training programme; branches can apply for any of the many courses, both face-to-face and online, across many subjects. These included beer judging, for those judging beers at festivals, and beer appreciation. These are less intensive than the beer tasting training some of us are more familiar with. Much other business was discussed, and we learned about some changes in CAMRA’s committee structure. A bus hop back to Bury took us to the Trackside Bar, on the old Bolton Street station, now home to the East Lancashire preserved railway. This old station refreshment room had an excellent range of beers, and the platform was a nice place to sit on a warm and muggy evening. Further meetings on Saturday took place in the Lancashire Fusilier Museum, an unusual venue but packed with things to see if you’re into military history. Much of the business of the day was concerned with Issue 40, Autumn 2015
the strategy for CAMRA going into the future. This is an important topic following a recent Strategy weekend for NERDs in Sheffield last month, and more information will be coming out soon on the subject. We also learned that there will be online voting at next year’s AGM on items including acceptance of the annual accounts, updates to the Internal and External Policy Documents and any special resolution. Oh, and the elections to the NE, which is of particular interest to me! The local RD had arranged an evening full of campaigning activities, and our own bus. We started with a branch POTY presentation at the Baum in Rochdale, CAMRA’s 2014 National POTY, and it was easy to see why. Some Rooster’s Wild Mule refreshed me whilst the presentation took place in the back garden. Back on the bus and off to the town of Atherton, a typical small northern town. Our first stop was the local Conservative Club where, alongside a pint of Firebrick Pagan Queen and some delicious local pasties, we had a talk from Dr James Sumner of Manchester University on beer adulteration in the early 19th century. It was both interesting and entertaining, and he even adulterated his own beer! The fact that National Chairman Colin Valentine had an earnest chat with him after the talk might indicate he is being lined up for a slot at next year’s Members Weekend in Liverpool. Three more pubs in Atherton, and two more POTY presentations. South East Lancashire branch POTY the Pendle Witch (a Moorhouse’s pub) followed, then a short walk to the Jolly Nailor, where my pint of Allgates Boston Plum Porter was near perfection, and only spoiled by a very loud heavy metal band striking up in quite a small pub. A rapid exit took us to the Atherton Arms, a Joseph Holt tied house, for the branch Community POTY award and some indulgence in karaoke from a few NE members and one RD!