Punters go on the pull at fundraiser for soldiers charity

RAISING THE FLAG Barry Smith, right, landlord of The Alma Arms in Southsea with Ron Thurston.  Picture: Steve Reid (120675-661)
RAISING THE FLAG Barry Smith, right, landlord of The Alma Arms in Southsea with Ron Thurston. Picture: Steve Reid (120675-661)

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PUNTERS and staff pulled together to raise money for Help For Heroes.

Landlord Barry Smith organised a tug-of-war at his pub, The Alma Arms, in Highland Road, Southsea, to raise money for the military charity.

LANDLORD Barry Smith prepares for the fundraiser.  (120675-669)

LANDLORD Barry Smith prepares for the fundraiser. (120675-669)

The challenge was part of a fundraising weekend which also included a karaoke, disco, live music, Sunday lunch, and a raffle with prizes including a set of signed darts by professional player Andy Fordham.

Mr Smith, 50, of Highland Road, Southsea, said: ‘It was absolutely packed, especially on Friday night when everyone else was quiet.

‘And it was a great crowd that came along. Everyone got really into it and donated loads of money for the charity.

‘All our customers really get behind us when we do a charity event like this, they love it.’

To help set the mood, Mr Smith hung Union Jack bunting outside the pub and Help for Heroes flags.

He added: ‘I wanted to do something for our boys who are out there fighting for us.

‘Some of the lads who drink in here have been to Afghanistan and one of the door staff used to be a paratrooper, so we have a strong connection to Help For Heroes in this pub.

‘We’ve done quite a few events like this for Help For Heroes and will be arranging many more of them this year, I want to raise as much as we can for them.’

There was also a host of live bands playing at the pub during the weekend, including Kneeslider, Punk Pirates, Sorted and Mitchell.

Regular David Bailey, 57, of Carpenter Close, Southsea, said: ‘I love watching the bands, and it’s all for a good cause.

‘Help For Heroes is a very important charity in my eyes, because many of us wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the troops that fought for us during the war.

‘And the troops that are out fighting just now are doing it for the kids of the future.’

‘They have done so much for us, and this is our way of giving them something back.’

Luckily, the array of live bands did not put the punters off singing a song themselves on the karaoke.

Tony Scutts, of Kassassin Street, Southsea, sang along to Aqua’s Barbie Girl with the pub’s staff members.

The 49-year-old said: ‘I put it down to too much drink, but it was great fun and it’s all for charity so it’s worth it.

‘Whenever they have an event like this in here it’s always a really good laugh.

‘It brings the whole community together and creates a nice atmosphere, which is what it’s all about.’