ALE connoisseurs came from across the country to raise a glass or two at a popular beer festival.

More than 2,000 people packed into the Muni Theatre in Colne for the 14th Pendle Beer Festival over the weekend.

The festival, on from Thursday to Saturday, featured local live bands and gave visitors the chance to taste more than 100 real ales and ciders while raising money for a local hospice.

Run by volunteers from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the festival raised more than £6,000 for Pendleside Hospice and filled hotels and bed and breakfast throughout the town.

Organiser Martyn Pashley said everyone involved was ‘very happy’ with the turnout. He said: “I think it has been really successful. We sold over 9,000 pints and made in excess of £6,000 for Pendleside hospice.

“We are all very happy with the turnout and I know local landlords were very pleased to have the extra people around the town. We had people come from York and Liverpool and there’s always a group who come from the Isle of Man. It’s really great business for the town.”

Volunteer Rodney Rostron, from Colne, said they make an effort to observe traditions when serving the ale as he believes the festival plays an important part in promoting real ale.

He said: “We only showcase the best quality beer, and if it is not up to scratch it is not served.

“It is served traditionally, by gravity, so it comes straight out of the cask and we never let the nozzle touch the ale when it’s being poured. It’s important to make sure we go the extra mile when we’re serving the ale because people come a long way to take part in the festival.

Nigel Varney, a real ale fan from Warrington, has attended the festival seven times as it gives him the opportunity to try different ales from across the country.

He said: “It’s absolutely brilliant.

“The atmosphere, the music and the beer are great.

“It’s the chance to try different ales, some of them from small breweries that I would never get to try otherwise.

“I’ll definitely be back again next year.”