Barrel of fun at Weymouth charity challenge

Dorset Echo: ALE OF A TASK: The Firkin Fairies head for the finishing line, ALE OF A TASK: The Firkin Fairies head for the finishing line,

TEAMS were on a roll as they took part in a charity challenge that began on a misty moor and ended with a cheer on Weymouth harbourside.

There was laughter and tears, frightening cows and bottomless bogs in the third Dartmoor Barrel Challenge supporting MV Freedom and Help for Heroes.

The idea of the challenge, like all good ideas first dreamt up in a pub, is to get an empty beer barrel back from Dartmoor to Weymouth.

Barrels of Jail Ale come courtesy of the Dartmoor Brewery based near Her Majesty’s prison in Princetown, Devon.

Fancy dress is encouraged as are wacky ways to arrive home.

The challenge is one of the main events in the fundraising calendar for MV Freedom, the Weymouth boat which gives disabled people and others the chance to experience the sea.

MV Freedom crewmember Nina Blondeau said teams first have to transport the barrel 18 miles across Dartmoor. No transport is allowed so the barrel has to be carried or rolled over the moors, which can lead to some hairy experiences.

Nina said: “I wasn’t there but I hear there were a few close-shaves involving some scary cows and a bog.”

After bedding down at a campsite, where there was entertainment from folk singer Finnian McGurk, teams drove back to Weymouth where they had to roll their barrel on the final leg from Hope Square to the King’s Arms.

Nina said: “We ask teams to arrive in Weymouth in style so we had people in a pink Volkswagen campervan, a group of James Bonds and others on a makeshift pirate ship.

“The final barrel roll is a lot of fun and is quite a spectacle. I’m sure there’s a bit of cheating but we don’t mind as long as everyone enjoys themselves.

“South Dorset MP Richard Drax came along and judged the winner for us. It’s not just who is fastest rolling the barrel but there are also points for appearance and style.”

Mr Drax selected the Firkin Fairies as the winners and presented them with a bottle of whisky.

The party continued into the night at the King’s Arms where there was music from Sheryl Lee and the Wareham Wailers.

Sponsorship is still being counted but it is hoped a worthy sum is raised.

If you want to support the challenge contact Jenie Jackson on 07974 299867 or see the website mvfreedom.co.uk

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