John Bishop congratulates adults with learning disabilities on their beer

First published in Runcorn and Widnes World: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

TOP TV comic John Bishop joked as he smashed a beer bottle against a little wooden door.

The comedian, who grew up in Runcorn, returned to launch a unique micro brewery in the walled garden of ancient Norton Priory, where monks used to make beer centuries ago.

Now, 40 adults with disabilities, are turning hops into ale in the first project of its kind in the UK.

John, aged 44, said: “I think this is a unique project.

“It will change people’s perception of adults with learning difficulties.

“I’m made up for them. It will raise their self-esteem and they will feel valued.

“The beer tastes great.”

John, a former Brookvale High School pupil, toured the brewery and posed for pictures with the excited brewers.

Stiofan O’Suillibhan, Halton Council’s divisional manager for community services, said: “We wanted to find these adults a job but it’s so difficult in the real world, we had to create opportunties.

“We’ve already set up cafes and a hair salon.

“Now they are earning their own money and making a contribution to society.”

Patsy Slevin, from Prospect Brewery, project consultant, said: “I’m thrilled to bits for them. It’s absolutely fantastic.

“Brewing is a very simple process, as long as you follow the rules.”

Neil Warburton, day service officer, said: “They feel they are doing something worthwhile, a real job, making something they can sell.”

David Gray, secretary of Halton CAMRA, said: “Their beers are excellent and all in very good condition.

“We’ve already taken it to a beer festival and people were really keen.”

Priory Ale is on tap at Stobart Stadium and will be offered to local pubs.

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