Doncaster Beer Festival - Raise a glass to Titanic survivor

Doncaster-born Harry Senior who survived the Titanic disaster.
Doncaster-born Harry Senior who survived the Titanic disaster.

REAL ale fans will be toasting one of the town’s little known heroes tonight to mark the start of the Doncaster Beer Festival.

A special ale has been brewed in the name of Doncaster-born Harry Senior, who survived the Titanic disaster almost exactly 100 years ago.

It will be one of 125 different ales on offer at the eagerly-awaited three-day festival at The Hub at Doncaster College.

Harry’s granddaughter Jacqui Hall, 63, who lives in Stoke, has had tales of his experience on the ship’s doomed maiden voyage passed down from her mother.

She said: “I think it’s fantastic and I think he would have liked a beer with his name, maybe even more than a medal. I am actually tee-total but I’m coming up to the festival on Saturday and I’ll have to have a little taste.”

Formerly of Balby, Harry was 31 when he took on the six-pound-a-month job as a stoker on the ‘unsinkable’ cruise liner. He was in bed on the fateful night of April 15 when he felt the impact, which he described as like a “train which had gone off its tracks”.

Along with the rest of the crew, Harry helped passengers onto lifeboats until the captain gave the order ‘every man for himself’. He swam to an upturned lifeboat where he suffered a blow to the head after scared passengers beat him off with an oar, fearing that extra people would capsize the boat.

He eventually clambered onto a boat and went on to travel the world, often working on ships until he died in 1937.

Doncaster Campaign For Real Ale branch chairman Bob Kiddle said that the Titanic was one of three themes running through the festival, with beers also brewed in recognition of Doncaster’s railway heritage and ales also bearing the names of winners of illustrious race, the St Leger.

A family area will be open during the day time sessions until 6pm, and hot food and soft drinks will also be available.

Entertainment will also be on offer with a performance tomorrow night from local band Strange Triangle, the Frickley and South Elmsall Brass Band take to the stage on Saturday afternoon, with Dr Busker performing in the evening.

The festival will be open to the public from 6pm today, while tomorrow and Saturday, the opening hours are 11am until 11pm.

Admission is £4, which includes a souvenir glass and a programme, except on Friday after 6pm, when admission is £6. There is also a reduced rate on Saturday evening after 5pm when admission is just £2.

Card-carrying CAMRA members are admitted free at all times, and there is even a members’ only ‘early doors’ opening on the Thursday at 5pm. For more information, visit Doncaster Camra or Doncaster Camra