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Good neighbours

24 January 2014

ST NICHOLAS's, Chiswick, in west London, and Fuller's Brewery have been good neighbours for more than 400 years. The brewery is the biggest employer in the parish; several of its past directors have been buried in the church; and the beer-makers hold their carol services there.

Church and brewery also get together for the common good. This last Christmas, for instance, they held a joint launch of a special Christmas beer. Quite a few of the parishioners grow hops in their gardens, the assistant curate, the Revd Andrew Downes, tells me. So Fuller's agreed to use the local hops for their keg of special St Nicholas Ale, and there was a launch in the George and Devonshire, just before Christmas (above).

The launch raised £1600 to provide free breakfastsat the local parish school, Chiswick School. "It's great to have support like this from our parish church," the headmaster, Tony Ryan, said. "It was great to meet so many people from the local community [at the launch], and the beer was pretty good, too."

The keg sold out within a few days, and, goodthough that fund-raising was, the £1600 will not last long, and the church wants to go on supporting thefree breakfasts in co-operation with the school, and with the brewery's help. Negotiations are under way, and they are hoping to produce a regular parish ale to be on sale all through the year, as a fund-raiser to keep the breakfasts going.

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